September 2015 - Celebrity Solstice to Alaska - Inside Passage
The security, processing for embarkation and ease of access to the ship was very good. Lines moved quickly and staff were alert, friendly and proficient. However, there was a problem with luggage tags. We had paperwork showing Suite 1403, however, the master list that the ship personnel had was Suite 8336 which turned out to be a bit smaller (due to space used as outer area for adjoining suite); and it was on portside. We prefer starboard.
It was very hard reconciling this mishap with the ground staff; they were useless; and once on board, the guest relations Asst. Manager, Sandra was just as inept. We were told the ship was sold out, no other suites available. Once under sail however, this did not seems to be the case. Sandra gave excuses, not solutions and never had the ensuing problems with the carpet and worn chair fixed, we had our butler Judas track down maintenance to clear the clogged toilet which lastd half a day…ugh! In any event, the room was smaller, the furnishing worn, and the carpet near the balcony door was detached causing me to trip if not very, very careful (I took picks of the toilet, torn chair cushion; the carpet and also showed it to Sandra -- nothing was done). So we just used the chair as laundry holding place, and avoided using the balcony...no need to temp an accident; and Judas followed-up with maintenance regarding the toilet issues.
We had wonderful experiences in all of the ports and the excursions were well organized, prompt, informative and fun. We chose excursions in the mild and moderate category. When the Whitehorse train excursion experienced delays on the way back, we were compensated without having to ask as a 20% discount was automatically refunded to our account.
A welcome plus was the suite level "Luminae" restaurant. Excellent staff, great cuisine and fine dining menu! Only suggestions -- please more vegetarian selections; keep coffee in the carafe hot (was consistently lukewarm). The Luminae staff was outstanding, so much so that I want to acknowledge and thank them by name: Waiters: Bayu, Indonesia; John, India; Ante, Philippines, Rosebud, India, Jay, Philippines; Marko, Serbia. Asst. Waiters: Diana, Indonesia, Alvin, Philippines (who kept me laughing with his impromptu impression of his name (a take on Alvin and the Chipmunks....you had to be there....lol); Ruslan, Macedonia; and Gener, Philippines. Imade, Indonesia was a great Sommelier, pleasant and prompt with wine service and his personality made the atmosphere in the Luminae more pleasant and elegant. Please bring back the Sommelier neck-piece and cup; it would add a bit of class and recognition to the Sommelier.
The Suite staff for 8336 was outstanding, they were prompt, discreet, and the added touches were noticed by us, slippers or shoes placed neatly, bathroom immaculate, tables and counters wiped, no smears on mirrors, room temperate adjusted for the weather/location (i.e, Canada vs Alaska). Bed made crisp and pillows fluffed all which served to lessen the issues with the toilet, torn upholstery on chair and torn carpet near balcony. Wilfred, India, Anish, Mauritius were the most excellent steward team each pausing to say a friendly hello from wherever they happened to see us in the corridors. I looked forward to Wilfred's greeting each morning, which was more than just a "hello" he was friendly and we enjoyed our inteaction with Wilfred.
Judas, our Butler was remarkable. He anticipated our needs (laundry service, reservations, etc.,), and followed-up promptly on our requests or inquiries. Judas ensured our afternoon tea service included piping hot masala chai (special Indian tea). After a chilly excursion or deck walk, it was refreshing to return to the suite for the afternoon tea which was always delivered within the allotted time.
We occasionally dined in the Ocean Café which was clean, well appointed, with food and friendly, attentive staff. We especially wish to recognize Sadna, Mauritius;who arranged for India Chai at buffet breakfast and Shadrick, Kenya; who was outstanding on the Pasta station and makes a really great pizza. He kept the line moving and always acknowledge guests who were waiting; and Marlon, Guyana on the Mast Grill was friendly and prompt with service. Finally, Nevil, India; in the Passport Bar was attentive, prompt and he remembered our drink order from the previous visits. He made guests feel special even when it was not a formal night!
The entertainment line-up was[AP1] average. There was no aerial show and we were told it was cut because the equipment was not ready. As we are not into Rock music...we did not enjoy the Rock of Ages so left that event. The comedy illusionist was brilliant for both of his shows. The standup comedian was just not funny and did not engage the audience.
The Solarium was as usual, a wonderful getaway onboard the vessel and immaculate. If we had been accommodated with better room furnishings, it would have been a remarkable cruise. As we are frequent cruisers, usually two or more a year; we find the room atmosphere to be just as important as the destinations, especially on sea days.
I hope Celebrity Corporate will compensate us for the dismal experience of our S-1 Suite Level accommodations. We have upcoming cruise in 5 months on the Reflection in Royal Suites which will complete our having sailed on all of the Solstice category ships (we were on the Equinox twice); and hope that the RS category for Asia and Israel in 2016 and 2017 respectively will be more opulent in furnishings. Overall, we enjoy the Celebrity experience and hope this review has been helpful.