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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
we chose this cruise totally based on price. we had planned to take a road trip in that area, and when we saw the price of this sailing, we felt that, while the experience would be different than a road trip, we would never be able to ... Read More
we chose this cruise totally based on price. we had planned to take a road trip in that area, and when we saw the price of this sailing, we felt that, while the experience would be different than a road trip, we would never be able to make the trip for less $$$. even though the ports on this sailing were familiar to us, we enjoyed each of the stops on this cruise. this was the first time that we sailed after being promoted to "elite-plus" in captain's club status. we enjoyed the perks of free laundry and more free wifi minutes very much! this cruise must have attracted many people who are at the higher levels in the captain's club, because at check-in, the lines for the higher levels (which are touted to be priority boarding) were the longest! i pretty much liked everything, and loved some things. the one thing that i did not like at all is the safety video that is shown for the safety drill. it is really stupid. it was probably made to improve the safety drill exercise, making it more entertaining, but, sigh. it is tiresome. we were able to have dinner once at murano (reservations for the earlier hours were very hard to come by!) and we loved that..service, food, wines, presentation... were all wonderful. we also had dinner at tuscan grill. this, too, was very good, but we were seated right by the window that is blocked out because of it being broken or damaged. we had to turn our chairs a little because we felt like we were facing a wall. we ate at silk harvest. without knowing anything at all about asian food. we told our server that, and she totally took care of us, making wonderful choices for our meal. it certainly exceeded our expectations. we had the seafood extravaganza at tuscan grill, and that, while very good, was our least favorite specialty dining experience. the rest of our dinner were in the main dining room, and we were satisfied with our choices there too. the buffet seemed less crowded than it usually does on ships, and the breakfasts and the lunches that we ate there were good...lots of variety. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle the night before embarkation to allow stress-free checking in. It took less than an hour from arrival at the pier to on boarding. We chose to keep our carry-on luggage as recommended which we shouldn't have to. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 pm at the same time that stateroom was ready! 5 Stars - Cruise amenities, activities, public area, Aqua class experience, Stateroom, Cabin Steward, Food quality, Spa experience, Fitness classes Blu restaurant - very good dining experience each night. 4 Stars - Excursions - We selected all of our excursions directly from Celebrity pre-cruise which is a lot cheaper than purchasing on board. All the tours arranged smoothly. Minus one star because one of our excursion was cancelled without any offer for replacement. Oceanview Cafe - Good variety of food and dessert! Minus one start because of overcrowded and competitively seating by the window! They should break up more tables into two so that all the seats are occupied. Most of the time table for 4-6 would have been occupied by two people. We really enjoy daily dessert selection, Lavazza coffee, indian food, stir-fry bar, ice-cream station, and daily fair. Breakfast is good, you can come and leave quickly without hassle. Should have more lunch spots and "grab & go" or quick lunch for people that don't eat much and want to do something else while on cruise. Oceanview is always busy at lunch time, you will have to spend at least 1 hour for lunch. It felt a bit uncomfortable to bring plate to your room, so many people at the entrance of the restaurant. Entertainments and Lectures - Every nights and on the sea day, it is packed with several things to do. We purchased fitness class package ($55/5 classes + $50 spa credit). We took zumba, yoga, spinning, and pilates classes. The spa credit is a joke since it can only be used on sea day and cannot be combined with other sea day discount. So, you end up paying almost the same price for already reduced price for sea day spa service (e.g. massage = $150/$115 on sea day, if using $50 credit, you will pay $150-50 = $100). 3 Stars - Itinerary, we arrived at Tracy Arm Fjords very early in the morning, followed by another port of call, Juneau which you barely spend half-day at most in the capital city of Alaska. There are many things to see and we were not able to fit all into our calendar. We almost missed Sawyer's Glacier, they only stopped for less than 15 min and left quickly. We were at the restaurant and did not know that we have arrived! Ketchikan - nothing much to see at this port, would rather spend only half day and preserve more times at Tracy Arm Fjords or Juneau. Victoria - arrived late, nothing much to see as our excursion was cancelled (whale watching tour). Almost three-day at sea (Day 2, Day 6 and Day 7 as we arrived late in Victoria) which could have been improved compared to other cruiseline itinerary. The Solstice did not visit Hubbard Glaciers, which should have been included in the itinerary, unlike the Millennium. 2 Stars - Service at Blu restaurant. On one night, we have to wait for > 30 min until someone can take our order. Constantly, we have to ask to refill water on our empty glasses. They were either disappeared or busy chit-chat with other tables. Constantly, they keep asking us to give them 10/10 on post-cruise surveys. The quality of food and daily selection deserved 5 start, but minus 3 stars for the very poor service. The hostess did not do well in fitting people on the table. At one point, we have to wait for more than 15 min to seat despite several empty tables. In my opinion, the set up, service type and resource management at Blu cannot accommodate too many large group dining. We have one table of 15, several tables of 8+ people every night. They need to allocate enough waitress to allow for this type of service and not shared with other "small" tables. In-room dining. No paper menu, limited selection on smart TV. Breakfast was poor but delivered on time. No water, again? 1 Stars On board payment and up selling. We paid over $1K despite some $250 credit we received from the travel agency. No coffee, no water without buying a package. They do not allow you to refill water from oceanview cafe to your individual container. We ended up paying in-room minibar daily for water (which is also not included in basic drinking package). A 1L bottle of Evian costs $6.50. We don't need Evian, just to be fair, spring water is good enough but that is $2/500 mL bottle and you have to walk to the cafe to purchase one (plus tax + service charge). To promote healthy and prevent certain compromised infection, they shouldn't have been so difficult about water. We don't want to purchase a package because we have to walk to cafe to get bottle water daily or multiple times a day. We ended up asking our cabin steward to bring two Evian bottles daily to our room and pay for the mini-bar service. Overall, despite some "flaws", I almost gave 5 stars to our wonderful travel with Celebrity Solstice on Aqua class. We will definitely book our next cruise with Celebrity, but may upgrade to suite class for better service overall. Read Less
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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was only or second cruise and it has been many tears since the first. We found the ship to be incredible. It's amazing what can fit on a cruise ship! The common areas were awesome and we never felt crowded wherever we went. As ... Read More
This was only or second cruise and it has been many tears since the first. We found the ship to be incredible. It's amazing what can fit on a cruise ship! The common areas were awesome and we never felt crowded wherever we went. As for the staff, our room keeper, Rhonda, was a dream. She never intruded on us and somehow managed to keep our room spotless. We had several servers at Epernay that were beyond amazing. Froilan, Christina and Ranburne. They gave us amazing service. We experienced some snarkiness at the martini bar and the third floor bar. In my opinion, the martini bar servers were more interested in showing off than providing service. Other than that, the service was great. Excursions: Ketchikan-we did the nature hike. It was ok. Our guide was knowledgeable enough and we were stoked to see some bears in the water fishing for salmon. Skagway-Mendenhall canoe trip. All I can say is be prepared to work. And work hard. It's a lot of paddling (6 miles there and back). My shoulder still hurts! It was beautiful, yes and our guide Mitch was entertaining but it was not as I expected. Juneau-Eagle preserve raft float-the most enjoyable trip! Saw lots of bald eagles and it was so relaxing. Our guide was an expert on the eagles no doubt. Gorgeous. Victoria-Beautiful place! We enjoyed the lantern tour at Butchart Gardens. Absolutely stunning scenery! One thing we wished is that we had more time in each port. If you do an excursion, there is little to not time left to explore the city. That was a bummer. If you're planning on souvenirs, I thought Ketchikan was the best for that. I did feel like all of the ports were reasonably priced though. We would definitely go again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This cruise was to celebrate my partners special birthday, and would be our first cruise together. Firstly, before i get into the issues and some aspects that were not up to exceptions, we had a fantastic time cruising the Tracy Arm ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate my partners special birthday, and would be our first cruise together. Firstly, before i get into the issues and some aspects that were not up to exceptions, we had a fantastic time cruising the Tracy Arm inside passage and the scenery was second to non. the weather was also on our side during our severn days. We chose Celebrity for a more mature cruising experience with fewer children and think we made the correct choice, with some exceptions. There was no excitement and the promoting of a "sail away" cocktail. We had to ask for one, but it seemed a chore and we had to choose a cocktail. Anyhow, we enjoyed sailing away from Seattle, glass in hand in glorious sunshine. After sail away, we navigated to some of the "open" bars to sample some onboard beverages. Prior to the cruise, we had upgraded to the Premium drinks package. There were some attempts to up sell drinks package as we walked around, but not as hard sell as expected. A simple show of sea pass and they left you alone. We ate in Blu restaurant each evening and were not disappointed. The food was excellent. Feel free to order more than one dish! As we did. It is a more intimate restaurant and you recieve personal service and build a rapport with your waiting staff and sommelier. (Budi, Mimi and Angga). They were genuinely pleased to see us each evening, and us them. Had breakfast in the MDR on one occasion but generally used the buffet, which was chaotic, and difficult to find a seat. Buffet had a good choice for lunch, but all that was on offer after dinner, was pizza and pasta. The pizza was very poor and tasteless! One of things that surprised us most, was how the dress code wasn't upheld. We travelled from the UK, with suits, shirts and dresses, but i feel we were the minority. Most folk chose to dress in sweat pants and hoodies for the duration of the cruise, even for dinner. This was rather disappointing, as we like to make an effort for dinner, not to be sat next to folk wearing their comfies! The dress code needs to be enforced. Not once did i see a Tuxedo being worn on board, let alone a bow tie. Only a smattering of ties could be counted, and these were on the more seasoned cruiser, but which i expected as the norm. For us, one of the main issues was the sky bar being closed most of the time for private parties. This was the largest bar on board and became infuriating. We walked in one night, to find around 30 people with large name tags around their neck on lanyards stood around talking! The bar appeared to be closed! Some nights we had to walk the full length of the ship to find a bar that was open for a nightcap! The bars en route to the speciality dining rooms were all closed we dinner had finished! One bar midships was always open, with fairly good service, but the martini bar was taken over by the silent disco one evening, so the bar could barely be accessed, and we had already attended the silent disco earlier in the week. It appears Celebrity do not like you drinking, or certainly make it difficult to use what you have pre paid for! Maybe Americans, which were the majority of passengers, do not drink the same as us Europeans. This caused us to complain at guest services the following day, but we were given a stock answer that certain bars were open as described in your daily newsletter. When we mentioned the dress code not being enforced, we were told that we should cruise with Cunard if thats what we wanted! Unbelievable from guest services. Surely they should be promoting their product? There was a piano onboard that was never played. Just sat gathering dust. Was told there was no pianist on board! There was a full orchestra. Surely the ivories should be tinkled occasionally? Any how, we did have a good time, but maybe our expectations were set a little too high! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. ... Read More
We just got back from a seven-night Inside Passage Alaskan cruise on the Solstice and, in general, it was very nice. Background: My wife (37) and I (43) took this cruise with my parents as a celebration of their 50th anniversary. They had booked it and wanted us (as cruise experts/excursion planners/luggage porters) to join them, which we did “last minute” by cruise standards (two months out). This was our 9th cruise, (7 on Celebrity, 2 on Princess), going back to 2007 and all our cruises have reviews on Cruise Critic. In my last review (January 2017 Caribbean Princess), I did a comparison of X vs. Princess and rereading it now, I can say my comments actually stand the test of time. Here it is: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=563757 Though our seventh X cruise, this was our first on X in over five years as well as our first on a Solstice-class ship (now almost 10 years old). Definitely feel the increased size a when getting on/off the ship, but not usually too many other times, with perhaps the exception of the buffet, which at times seemed rather crowded. This was our second cruise to Alaska (first on Infinity back in 2008) and we were very much looking forward to returning. Cruise had more children than I expected (would guess at least 400 or so), but generally not an issue in terms of behavior, and I am certainly not one who seeks opportunities to spend time with children. Many baby boomers in their 60s or early 70s, not as many 75+ as I expected. My parents (in their mid-70s/early-80s) had contemporaries, but not as many as those 10 years younger. Pre-Cruise: We flew United from Washington IAD to SEA the night before. Available hotel rooms in downtown Seattle were basically nonexistent that night, and really expensive if available (e.g., $500 for Best Western), so we stayed near SeaTac, seemingly along with everyone else going on a cruise. Still $275 for one night at a Hampton Inn a mile from the airport. We walked to Safeway early the next morning to get water, diet soda, and tonic and a lime to bring aboard. Taking an Uber back, the driver told us about a friend who could take all four of us (in a black Suburban) to the pier for $70. Considering the other option seemed to be a $25/person shuttle or taking two taxis, we took the opportunity and he showed up on-time. Embarkation: Though it didn’t seem to say on any of our cruise documents, the ship was at Pier 91, not Pier 66; fortunately, our driver knew where to go when we took him to Pier 66 and no ships were there. Dropoff was a bit chaotic (RCL Adventurer of Seas was at the port too), but easier than Pier 66 ten years ago because there’s more space to load/unload as it’s not in the middle of downtown. Dock workers were helpful once you could get one. We tipped $10 and he helped my parents a lot. Check in wasn’t too bad: went through security, then lines to check in. Regular line was long (for my parents), Elite was a two minute wait, which is what we had. Boarding was very fast with no issues. Luggage came in the afternoon, though our last bag (containing only sodas, water, etc.) took a little while to arrive. We brought in our usual two bottles of wine per cabin with no issues. Cabin: We had a regular balcony room (2B), which seemed pretty good on Solstice, but the large sofa made drawer and closet space smaller than would like. Our cabin steward, Peter, was excellent and eager to please. BTW, my parents were down the hall with a massive handicap accessible room (though they are not mobility impaired—just was what was available as we booked only two months out). Their room was like a hotel room in size, but with annoyances to deal with if you are not in fact handicapped (e.g., a door that only opened by pushing a button, emergency alarms that seemed to malfunction at times). Main Dining Room: Had “select” (anytime) dining for the first time on X, and that went well. The first night, the four of us got a table by ourselves and we locked in an 8:15 time for four at the same table for the rest of the cruise after hitting it off with the waiters. Not a big fan of “starters” and “entrees” as only options, rather than listed as courses (though of course, can do so—we usually had four courses including dessert). Our waiters, Widana and Suryati (both from Indonesia) were kind, thoughtful, and by the end of trip, sad to say goodbye to. They had good recommendations and were accommodating of my parents who are getting up there in age. We tipped them extra of course. We skipped dinner the final night (like many) as we were in Victoria, BC during dinner. We do miss the “formal” nights to some degree, but many people were still dressed up during the “elegant chic” nights (us included) in dresses, sports jackets/suits, etc. And the food is better those nights too, of course. Murano: We ate one night at Murano (while my parents ate in the MDR). I suspect this is the only specialty restaurant on Solstice that’s actually worth it. Based on how they hard-sell the upcharge restaurants other than Murano, I suspect that’s a common opinion. It’s a little pricey for $50/person, but it’s worth it one night a cruise for us, as it’s a slower pace, quieter and a more refined menu and experience. Buffet: I generally avoid the buffet when I can (limited to maybe 3 lunches on this cruise), and I found this to be generally disappointing. The pizza is much worse than I remember (I think recipe has changed) from old X cruises (Princess’s is definitely better). It was more crowded than the Millennium class ships too, and was often hard to get a seat. I found the sanitation practices to be as lax as I have ever seen on any cruise. People using tongs in ways that would spread germs easily and no one was serving you food. Didn’t have any issues in that regard, but was mildly turned off by it. Due our “Elite” status, we could make use of the Elite breakfast, which was a major highlight. Located in the Tuscan Grille, we had a choice of many coffees/morning cocktails with interesting (though limited) breakfast options. Great attentive service, and the Captain’s Club (CC) hostess (Paulina from Mexico) was great. She was a constant presence, very helpful, made sure you knew about all the events, never tried to sell you anything, and always asked if you wanted something else. The Elite breakfast was quiet, uncrowded, and very civilized. The CC Cocktail hour (really two hours) in the Sky Lounge was similarly a nice treat. Their one-day only “elegant tea”, however, was a dud and far less impressive than Princess’s, which is available most days and open to everyone, not just Elite loyalty members. As I detailed in my most recent Princess review (again, link posted above), there are places where X and Princess do better than the other. I won’t repeat them here but after this trip, I felt like Princess might have a small edge, though our Elite status on X is worth quite a bit (free bag of laundry, aforementioned breakfast and cocktails, 90 minutes of internet) so our eggs are somewhat in one basket. If you care most about sleek ship styling, elegant spaces, staterooms with nicer touches, uncrowded public rooms (especially the theatre) and interesting MDR food (especially starters and entrees), X has the edge. If you care more about affordable drinks/wine (as well as water/soda packages), better value alternative restaurants, dining on your balcony, better desserts (if slightly less interesting entrees and starters), more dining options for lunch, elegant afternoon tea, self-serve laundry, functional—if less glamorous and slightly worn—staterooms, then Princess clearly has the edge. As for Solstice’s main downside, we thought there was LOTS of space for shops, and to a lesser extent, specialty restaurants. I don’t mind the latter, but the former makes it often feel more like a casino/shopping mall than ship. As many have mentioned, and more so than what I recall from prior X cruises, there was hard selling of drink packages and specialty restaurants, which leads me to believe that the product offerings are overpriced; and thus they must resort to hard selling. Other than Murano, the upcharge restaurants seemed, empty which I think means the menus can’t justify their prices. We were “greeted” many times throughout the ship when it was clear that the waiter/sommelier, etc. was only doing so as an entrée for a sales pitch (often a crab lunch that we had no interest in). I don’t mind extra charges, but I do mind hard selling on my vacation. The prices for drinks, drink packages and specialty restaurants seem very high, and the fact that on Princess it’s pushed much less and is even hard to get a reservation at their specialty restaurants is probably an indication that X is failing in this regard. Basic arithmetic would say that you would need around 10 drinks/day to break even on the drink packages—and sporty amount for anyone, especially considering you’re often in port, drinks are not available in your room, you can’t order two at a time, etc. It’s clear X knows this; even when I was ordering drinks (and paying for them normally), the waiters asked if I wanted a drink package—sometimes, two or three “no thanks” were required. Frustrating. Entertainment: the evening shows were generally pretty good. The singers, dancers and acrobats were impressive, and both comedians (Rich Aronovitch in particular) were very solid and even a bit edgy. I was initially skeptical of our cruise director, Alejandro from Argentina, but he was in fact very charming, funny and very likeable. Like Princess, there could be more enrichment activities, but we were delighted that Brent Nixon, the naturalist who was aboard on our prior Alaskan cruise 10 years ago, was aboard once again. He’s definitely not everyone’s (including my father’s) cup of tea, as his shows are very much performances and he engages at times in histrionics, but he’s also very well-informed about all things related to Alaskan wildlife. Even if the style is not to everyone’s liking, X (and Princess) needs more of these types of people on board to give talks, not fewer. Fortunately, these talks were well-attended so I hope the message is getting out. Mercifully, there was no a capella quartet on this cruise (unlike previous X cruises we’ve been on). Sadly, that did not seem to translate into more musicians—there were just two classical musicians aboard for my parents to enjoy. Ketchikan: took a taxi ($30 each way) on our own to Perseverance trail (near Ward Lake). Good hike (about 5.5 miles r/t and a 500 feet climb), but it’s just a lake (though nice one) at the top. Great weather helped, though it was more good exercise than great views. Cabbie came back to meet us on time. Based on my experience, it seems likely your driver will be a talkative, helpful Alaskan cabby with interesting life stories. Afterwards, we headed to dive bar, Sourdough, right near the port for a couple of beers before heading back to the ship. Juneau was a bit of a washout weather wise. We went to Mendenhall Glacier with my parents. Similar nice cabbie (talked about his life growing up in a tiny SE Alaskan town). $35 + $12/person (since we had an annual pass for National Parks). Very crowded with lots of (Chinese) tourists, and less good views of the glacier than Dawes glacier in Tracy Fjord earlier in the day—so a bit of a disappointment, but still a decent walk and some exercise, and we saw up close a bear and her two cubs. We planned to do Mt. Roberts Tramway afterwards with a longer hike, but it was rainy and fogged in, so it wouldn’t have been worth it, so we skipped. We instead went to the Alaska Bar, somewhat divey, and less overtly touristy than some others. Unlikely everything else in Alaska, drinks at bars are actually rather cheap (drafts like $5-$6 for Alaska beer, cheap macros were like $3-$4). Skagway: A much smaller town where cabs are not necessary. My wife and I hiked to Lower Dewey Lake and around most of it. Steep, but not too long to get there (about a mile each way). Good exercise and not as muggy as the hike in Ketchikan. Like many, did the White Pass and Yukon Railway trip. Very crowded with four cruise ships in town that day (Ruby Princess, Star Princess, Nieuw Amsterdam and us). But worth the trip for the unbelievable scenery, helped by generally very good weather. The main street in town, Broadway, was a little prettier, even if filled with tourists and gift/jewelry shops, than equivalents in Ketchikan and Juneau. We went down to the end of the street to have a Sitka Spruce Tips Blonde at Skagway Brewing company, continuing the theme of a local bar visit after a day of excursions/hiking. Though slightly pricier than the bars in Ketchikan and Skagway, still cheap compared to D.C. prices and especially since everything else in Alaska is expensive. Victoria: nice town, but of course, a short stop. We went downtown. Note: r/t tickets from pier were $13/person on shuttle bus, so we instead took a taxi (four of us) for fixed $10 plus tip each way, which was obviously much cheaper. We had a few beers and a light dinner at a pub (Bard and Banker, I think it’s called) on Government Street and walked around for a few hours. Disembarkation was fine, though there seemed to be waits for taxis. We had the driver who took us to the port come and pick us up (he was early, which was great). Stayed post-cruise at Westin Downtown. Perfectly fine, if you can stand Seattle prices. Flight home the following day was blissfully uneventful. Used the same driver who drove us to the pier to drive us to the airport for $70. Note that a taxi from downtown is fixed at $40, but we would have had to take two with my parents and our luggage, so still a decent value. Final Thoughts: No one in his right might can complain about a pleasant, event-free Alaskan cruise with his wife and parents celebrating their 50th anniversary. Celebrity continues to excel in MDR and cabin service, very good MDR food at dinners, evening entertainment, nice décor and generally upscale atmosphere. We were impressed enough to put a deposit on another cruise at some point in the future, but I think it’s safe to say that to a large extent our decision for what cruise line to use in the future will be based on itinerary, amenities, and price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was the first time my husband and I embarked on a ship for a vacation. We were invited by a couple friend of ours who were seasoned cruisers (they had one of the two penthouses on board), and talked about just how wonderful it was, a ... Read More
This was the first time my husband and I embarked on a ship for a vacation. We were invited by a couple friend of ours who were seasoned cruisers (they had one of the two penthouses on board), and talked about just how wonderful it was, a sentiment that was echoed by a number of friends and family who had also been on cruises, although not necessarily Celebrity. Given that we had vacationed with this couple before, and knowing that we tend to go first-class when we do take time off, this couple suggested booking a Sky Suite on the ship, which I'll review under the cabin area of this posting. We boarded in Seattle, and our group - which, by the time we sailed, was actually made up of 10 people total - was met at the dock by a Celebrity representative, and ushered through the checkin process, which was all very smooth and friendly. Time from drop-off to on board the ship was only 20 minutes! One of the crew even recognized that I was struggling a bit (my generalized anxiety disorder crops up at the WORST times!), and helped me to a quieter area with some water, to wait for the rest of the group to check in, which gave me a chance to actually get more excited about boarding. The process was so wonderful, a great way to get to know Celebrity and the crew right off the bat. Great customer service! We made our way to Michael's Club to wait for our rooms to be ready, and thought about where to get some lunch, when one of the MC staff said that Luminae was open for lunch. So we made our way there for the first on board meal of the trip. It was at that point I knew that my husband and I were in trouble...in a really good way. In Luminae, the food, the service, the drinks, the atmosphere - everything was five-star impeccable. The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly, the serving sizes of both the entrees and the appetizers were big enough to satisfy but not *too* big, and the sommelier had a wonderful selection of wines, some vintages that I hadn't ever been able to get while in the US! And the service didn't change at ANY time that we were eating at Luminae, either. We were greeted with a "welcome home" from the staff when we came back from excursions, or just came down for breakfast. Luminae is one of the biggest reasons we rebooked, and we rebooked at suite class level, heh. The ship itself is very nice - you can tell she's a bit older (I'm really looking forward to all of the refurbishment going on!), but like a fine wine, she's aging gracefully. There were a few small issues here and there that I noticed, but nothing major - one of the issues I detail in my cabin review. Although it's bigger than I expected (I kept losing my way as to whether I was forward, aft, or midship, heh), it was still cozy where it needed to be. After I got more used to the layout, everything was easy to find, and even if I was a little lost, no one had any problem pointing me in the right direction. Every crew member we ran into seemed to have a smile on their face and a greeting for us, from the captain on down. By the end of the cruise, I felt in many ways like I was leaving family members. As far as other dining is concerned, we ate at Murano, Sushi on Five, and Silk Harvest. All of them were amazing - we did an all-you-can-eat option at Sushi on Five when they were having a discount day, and the only complaint I had was that they didn't have any Ikura (Salmon Caviar), which is my favorite Nigiri (I actually had it in Murano instead, heh). They are more roll-heavy than anything, and while those are tasty, I prefer Nigiri and Sashimi. Murano was absolutely five-star like Luminae, but even more upscale. If you want a fine-dining experience, go to Murano - I've eaten at a Michelin-starred restaurant that didn't treat me as well. The food is amazing; I had one dinner that consisted solely of small plates, because I just wanted to try them all! Silk Harvest was excellent too. We had a variety of small plates and a few big plates, and just shared them, family style. They knew about my food sensitivity as well, and went out of their way to make sure that I wouldn't have any problems. We even got to meet the chef! Great dining options - I didn't think that I would be so happy with the food on board, and it all was lovely. Michael's Club was a great place to go and unwind just before sail-away from any of the ports, I think I spent the most time there when we weren't in our room. We tried the Martini Bar, but it was so busy and crowded when we went, it felt like forever before someone came over to take our order, and then more time while we waited for it. I wanted to watch the bartenders, since they're supposed to do all of the fancy bottle-flipping and things, but there was no room at the ice bar (which looked as cool as it probably felt, heh), and from what we could see, there wasn't much going on behind the bar - probably too busy to be really artistic. I would recommend going to World Class Bar over the Martini Bar, the bartenders at World Class were so sweet, and very good at the mixology of the drinks they had available. When I went up to Darko (one of the bartenders) and told him I was in the mood for something tart rather than sweet, and I was looking for a vodka drink, he whipped something up for me right there that tasted just like what I wanted, even though I didn't know it's what I wanted! We also tried Cellar Masters - I'm actually rather sad that will be going away with the refurbishment. I understand why; it was very quiet when we were there. But the sommeliers we had there were friendly and helpful. I was so sad when I found out that a Chateauneuf du Pape was on board, and that they were all out! They went hunting for it, but alas, were out of luck. I didn't get to it until towards the end of the cruise, and now I'm sorry that I didn't go earlier! My husband is looking forward to the gastrobar, though, as he is a craft beer drinker. Our shore excursions were a lot of fun, our favorite being the smaller ship that took us closer to the Dawes glacier and whale-watching. We watched the glacier calve a few times with big pops and cracks that sounded like thunder, and on our way back to the ship docked in Juneau, saw an Orca and two Humpback whales and a number of Harbor seals. We also did a hike through the rainforest area in Ketchican, and saw a LOT of bald eagles and salmon. It was lovely, if a bit over-crowded - I would have liked to do more actual hiking. But it was a good excursion, nonetheless. We did a few things in terms of entertainment and activities; some were just for suite class, so I'll skip those, and will talk about the activities available to everyone. I wanted to attend the opening of Tiffany's, which was a lot of fun - the crew members were getting people into it by dancing and singing, especially since the captain was running a little late to do the ribbon cutting. Other activities included a tour of the galley, but there was so many people there and they were moving slowly, so we wound up leaving after about 20 minutes. The crew member meet-and-greets on the Evening Chic nights were a lot of fun, some great picture-taking opportunities, and my husband and I wound up watching a few activities as well, such as the salsa dancing lessons and the paper airplane flying contest, in which all the participants looked like they were having a great time. The biggest disappointment in entertainment for both me and my husband was actually the first Evening Chic theater night presentation. It was supposed to be something that supposedly Cirque du Soleil had worked or consulted on, and was (very loosely) based on the music and time-period of Mozart. Hearing that, I expected far more acrobatics and Cirque-style demonstrations than we got. I get that acrobatics are difficult on a moving ship (and the waters we were in were moving us around a bit), but it still seemed like there was a lot of modern dance to modern music that had little to do with Mozart, and very few acrobatics. The acrobats we *did* see were very good, but we saw almost the same acts *again* during the Rock of Ages-type show that was a part of the second night. A couple of folks in our party were so disappointed by the first night, they didn't go to the second one. My husband and I went, but I think it was better the second night, because we got more of the performance that we expected then. I only attempted to use the fitness center once, and made the mistake of doing it on a sea day. I knew it was going to be crowded, but my biggest issue was the lack of any sort of structure when it came to the treadmills and ellipticals. When I was there, they were completely full, and as I waited, I noticed that as soon as someone stepped off their treadmill, someone else would rush right up to it. So I waited for *another* one, and then as soon as one became available, someone else - who had been on a bike right up to then - immediately rushed up to it as I was walking towards it. I didn't know who was waiting or not, and I felt really uncomfortable, since I made it obvious that I was waiting (had been for 10 minutes by the time the *second* machine became available), but no one appeared to care - I didn't see any attendants. I waited another 5 minutes, and then went up to dodge people on the jogging track, which actually wasn't so bad. I tried to go back to the workout room, but by then, everyone had moved on to the weight machines and free weights, and since I didn't want a repeat of the treadmill issue, I left. The spa was somewhat of another disappointment. The day we went to the spa was a port day where our excursion actually got cancelled due to high winds and seas, so we thought we'd check out the Persian Garden and get a treatment. While the Garden was actually pretty nice, the steamroom and sauna that accompanied it wasn't. The steamroom had a vaguely citrusy smell that you could barely get a whiff of above the smell of, well, moisture, and the sauna had eucalyptus in it - I could only spend about 30 seconds in there before my eyes started burning and I was coughing. The "rain showers" that were in the Garden itself were cold too - even after waiting for a couple of minutes, they never warmed up, and then shut off after about 5 minutes. The treatment I got was a disappointment too - after I asked the therapist use a little more pressure on my back, she basically tried to upsell me to a "deep tissue" massage, when I was asking for medium pressure instead of the light pressure she was using. Then she tried to tell me that I hadn't prepaid, and was trying to charge me in full for the service! Fortunately it got all worked out, but I don't know that I'll be going back to Canyon Ranch after all of that. I expected a luxury spa experience - my husband and I will spend several hours in the spa at Aria, and I have a membership to Massage Envy - and didn't really get it at all. It was disappointing. We tried to go back to the Persian Garden too (the same day as my experience in the fitness center), but when both me and my husband tried to find a place in the locker room to store our stuff, none were available. The locks on them were confusing as well. So we kind of gave up; a waste of money too, since we had paid to enter the Persian Garden. There were a few things that made me not able to give the cruise 5 stars. Overall, however, it was an amazing experience, from the customer service to the food to the activities and excursions. The room was comfortable, and it was a great vacation made even better by the attention to detail by Celebrity. My husband and I have already booked a Celebrity Suite on Equinox *next* August (I've always wanted to go to Puerto Rico, and my parents actually honeymooned in the Dominican Republic)! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We planned our first cruise to celebrate our honeymoon and Celebrity cruises did not disappoint. Embarkation was smooth and quick. The downside was the immediate selling of drinks packages and specialty restaurants. We both went for a ... Read More
We planned our first cruise to celebrate our honeymoon and Celebrity cruises did not disappoint. Embarkation was smooth and quick. The downside was the immediate selling of drinks packages and specialty restaurants. We both went for a non-alcoholic drinks package, however we did not feel we got our moneys worth as there is only so much coke zero you can drink. We found it more affordable to buy any alcoholic drinks. The food in the main dining room was fabulous every night. Our waiter had great suggestions that we thoroughly enjoyed. It would be advisable to book if you have flexible dining. They always very helpful to get us seated when we didn't have a reservation. The buffet had a great variety of choices, however I could get busy at peak times but we always found somewhere to sit. The ship was a good size and it gave a variety of things to do. We never stood in queue for anything and could get a lounger by the pool. Coffee's and teas at Cafe al Bacio are worth the trip and you can enjoy free pastries. If you want to do the hot glass activity its worth getting booked in early. There was a variety of evening entertainment and having shows at 7pm and 9pm gave you an option for dinner etc. On the Victoria docking day they do the show at 2.30pm and it is worth a watch Solomon Jaye was a fantastic entertainer. It is a shame that the film times are at unusual times (4.30pm and 10.15pm) so we never got to watch a film. The seminars by naturalist Brent Nixon and historian Miss Amanda were fantastic and informative and worth a visit. Brent even went on the bridge to give announcements to whale sightings. The port and shopping seminar was informative to a point but then there was a lot of pushing for the same shops in every port. We were surprised my how early we disembarked but it did give us a whole day in Seattle. We left the ship at 7.50am quickly and easily. Our luggage was easy to locate and cabs were well managed and we at the top of the space needle by 9am. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My ... Read More
My first cruise. I picked the solstice cruise bc I could drive to Seattle. I saved money on the flight and booked a celebrity suite with the money saved. I also read positive reviews about kids club and heard the food was quite good. My goal with the suite was to get as close as possible to an all/inclusive type cruise (like crystal or regency ss) which wouldn’t have been a good choice for my kids. We loved the service in general, especially Luminae. Our room attendant Silvio was very sweet and did a great job. We didn’t see our Butler until day 2, disappointing! But I got the sense the bulters were multitasking too much and didn’t have time to attent to suite guests. He was very nice, just always busy doing something else. Embarking was super easy and that alone almost made the upgrade worth its value. The people helping with checkin/embarkation were fantastic. My kids both liked the fun factory, a first in our family. We have never had luck with resort kids clubs. The staff was kind and fun. They worked really hard. My kids are 6 and 11 and both had fun. I read past posts about suite passengers getting tours of the bridge. I asked our butler twice to set that up for our family and was disappointed that the tours were discontinued last month. He had no idea why. I asked to have canapés brought to our suite in the afternoons bc I was frequently hanging out there watching for whales from the balcony. At first the butler resisted and said that’s no longer offered to suite guests, but he started bringing them every afternoon after that. Excursions were ok. We waited too long to book and couldn’t get to the glacier via helicopter and go dog sledding. That was our fault. Whale watching in Victoria was by far the best. Got to see a pod of orcas up close off San Juan Island. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I had avoided cruises in the past both due to extreme seasickness and watching travel shows about cruises in which everyone was line dancing. I was convinced to go to Alaska because the Inside Passage is calm and the scenery fantastic. I ... Read More
I had avoided cruises in the past both due to extreme seasickness and watching travel shows about cruises in which everyone was line dancing. I was convinced to go to Alaska because the Inside Passage is calm and the scenery fantastic. I did not experience any seasickness with the help of Bonine, and we were blessed with terrific weather to view the sights. I was surprised there were so many young children on board, as well as large three-generational family groups. The only time the ship felt super crowded was during the days at sea. The kids were raucous and as there were several noisy ones both next door to our cabin and seated next to us in the dining room, I may need to find a more kid-free cruise in the future. We were amazed by the excellent quality of both the food and the shows. Also, the staff were truly awesome. We didn't opt for any specialty dining as we were blown away by even the regular menu. We did get the drink package that was well worth it, even for me who doesn't drink much, so I could get diet coke and specialty coffee fixes. Our favorite activity was playing trivia, although I'm convinced there may have been some cheating. The captain was hilarious and the best part of the trip was seeing Dawe's glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord. We saw almost no wildlife, although since we only took one excursion, we probably have ourselves to blame. We enjoyed walking around Ketchikan, Skagway and Victoria, while Juneau was a bit of a let-down. I lost 20 bucks presto prompto in the casino and didn't give it another chance. We didn't even go in the pools, although that seemed a popular activity. We glanced into the gym once and were put off by hundreds of sweaty Olympic athletic bodies, so most of our exercise was extensive walking in each port. They did have a full schedule of mostly free exercise classes that might have appealed if it rained. We really enjoyed reading in the Sky lounge with terrific views and relative quiet during the day. Also, our balcony was great for taking photos. The bed in our cabin was the most comfortable I have been in EVER!! I slept like a log, or perhaps that was due to the drink package. There was plenty of storage and we were very happy with our accommodations except for the lack of sound-proofing. We could hear every conversation next door as well as the band in the lobby. After hearing horror stories about illness, embarkation, and disembarkation, I was prepared for the worst and shocked when all of the above was no issue at all. It was so quick and easy, even during the stop in Canada! I had good intentions before the cruise, being fore-warned about the dangers of massive over-eating and over-imbibing. Let's just say only willpower of steel would have prevented this, and we didn't possess such strength. So the next cruise will have to wait until I recover my figure from this one. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Background Information: I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. This was my 16 cruise on Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Ship Info: Celebrity is one of our ... Read More
Background Information: I have sailed on Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Disney, Costa, Cunard, and Celebrity. This was my 16 cruise on Celebrity. I am 46 years old. Ship Info: Celebrity is one of our favorites when we are traveling with just adults. The average age on this sailing was probably in the 40’s and 50’s. Not a lot of children compared to other cruise lines that offer a lot of family activities (water slides, etc). The ship was extremely clean and looked new. Activities: If you want to take some gym classes (yoga, spinning), you should make reservations on the first day for these classes. It costs around $15 per class. We love sitting in the solarium pool area because it is peaceful. The solarium also has a small healthy breakfast and lunch buffet in the corner I enjoyed. Service: Service was friendly in all areas. I believe that this might have been the nicest crew at sea! Shore Excursions: We decided to book our shore excursions through the cruise line several weeks before we left. Over the years, we have coordinated our tours on our own. When it comes to doing non-beach tours, I prefer booking through the cruise line for convenience and the ability to cancel 24 hours prior. Booking in advance also was cheaper versus booking onboard. I highly recommend the following tours: Skagway - White Pass Summit Train tour; Victoria - Butchart Gardens; Juneau - see a glacier (dog sledding was amazing but it is expensive). In Ketchikan, we walked around the town and loved it! Stateroom: We stayed in a balcony on this sailing; however, our favorite category is Aqua Class because we enjoy the Blu Restaurant and the Persian Gardens Spa area. Dining: Before you order your meal, ask the waiter what they recommend. If you don't like crowds, eat in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch instead of the buffet. All of their specialty restaurants are excellent too. To avoid the first day lunch buffet crowd, go to a specialty restaurant when you get on board. We went to the sushi restaurant after embarkation and it wasn’t busy; well worth the money. The pastries and desserts at the coffee bar are free and very good! We were traveling with 8 people and had the open seating for dinner. The service was VERY slow (2.5 hours for dinner and we went at 5:45 pm). The next time, I will sign up for a set meal time. Dress Code: They offer two Evening Chic nights, but only a handful of people dressed up. Most people dressed business causal during the dinners. Entertainment: We didn’t see any of the shows. If you want to see them, they are usually at 7 pm and 9 pm. Disembarkation: If you want to carry all your bags off the ship by yourself, they will let you off starting at around 7 a.m. Overall: 4 out of 5 stars (would have been a 5 if the service was faster at night). Read Less
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