July 2014 - Celebrity Solstice to Alaska - Inside Passage
My family and I just returned from our cruise vacation on the Celebrity Solstice. It was a good vacation overall with some small disappointments.
The best part about this specific cruise was the entertainment. The shows and performances were amazing. "Solstice the Show" and "The Ghost Light" were two amazing performances; the on-board performance group did a great job singing, dancing, and with the acrobatics. Further, the talks by Brent Nixon were enlightening and comical, he is a great host for this specific cruise. And my family and I liked the Rockstar Juggler Mike Price and especially liked Jason Bishop for his amazing performance, he was really funny and his act was well conceived and executed. Overall with all these performances our entire family was entertained and delighted; my son even wishes to have Jason perform at his school!
The other great thing about this cruise was the room and room service. We had the stateroom with the balcony, and it was a great place to kick back between activities. The balcony is spacious and offered great views during the trips through the passages. The on-board entertainment included a nice selection of free movies and kids programming so that the entire family was satisfied. Further, the room service was excellent. We were on floor 6 and our room host Arun was amazing; he not only kept the room immaculate, but every time we saw him in the hallway he was super friendly and was a joy to converse with.
The last thing that we really enjoyed was the Solarium, which was basically an indoor pool. This is amazing as normally the pool is useless on the Alaskan cruises due to the weather, but this pool was nice at all times of the day and night, even in the cold Alaskan climate. However, the issue with the pool was that you had to be 16 or older to use it besides the 1 hour family time from 4:00 to 5:00pm, and during that time it was full of little kids. My son
Some of the disadvantages of this cruise compared to other cruises I've been on was the buffet. The variety was really lacking for this buffet, and about half the stuff wasn't good. I liked the fish, Indian buffet and soups, but some of the meats and salads sections were lacking and not tasty. The cookies were horrible; I was expecting the nice larger deli style cookies but found the cheap, small, hard ones instead. Further, the drinks were cheap "cocktail mix" (I saw them filling it once) no-name stuff that were not very good; to get the good beverages you had to pay something like $8.00 per day + gratuity, which is too expensive compared to how much we put into the cruise already. The Norwegian Pearl had fresh apple and orange juice in the mornings and I was expecting similar on this cruise but was definitely let down.
The main restaurant on the ship "The Grand Ephany" was nice and had really good selections, but could get pretty crowded. The Alaskan Salmon dish that is always on the menu is really great and was always enjoyable when the rotating dish wasn't as good. The only issue was that the wait times could get bad; I'd recommend getting the select dining to be able to schedule any times as due to times at port it was easier to eat early some nights, and later others.
Some of the other disadvantages were the overall ship layout. The Solstice being a newer ship had a high rating for the actual ship. However, I found it to be lacking in many areas. For instance, the Norwegian Pearl had a really nice deck on level 7 with shuffle board courts. The only deck on the Solstice was really for maintenance; sure it was accessible but there was nothing there and it didn't have a view. The Pearl also had this really fun lounge room in the back of the ship with bowling, some arcade games and a couple lounge areas with couch beds. The lounges in the Solstice were more basic and didn't offer as much entertainment.
Overall I'd rate this about a 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5.