A great ship
Linda Woodland | April 4, 2019 | Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Solstice
We have just returned from a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice round the top end of Australia, starting in Perth (Freemantle) and ending after 18 days in Sydney. The ship was excellent, the best we have been on, and we’ve been on a few! Everything was great, a spacious cabin, a roomy bathroom we could actually move around in and shower without hitting our elbows. The food was fantastic, the service commendable, and there was so much to do onboard, we were spoilt for choice.
The ports of call were limited and not always easy. Port Hedland is an iron-ore facility; we did our research before we left and knew what we were going to see. We enjoyed our bus trip around the facility but a lot of people didn’t, I don’t know what they were expecting! We were held to ransom in Bali as the authorities wouldn’t let us off the ship until ‘negotiations’ were completed, delaying us by several hours and creating problems for those on day trips. Plus the weather was awful, torrential rain, and transfers to and from the port were a nightmare. Darwin was great, hot and sunny, and the shops opened especially for us as we were there on a Sunday, but there’s not a great deal else to do there. Cairns was mostly closed too, as it was out of season, and we were a few hours late arriving there due to an emergency evacuation by helicopter of a crew member; people who had booked a day long trip to the Barrier Reef missed out on that trip too. Brisbane would have been great but again we had torrential rain and our trip ashore was very shortlived. Fortunately Sydney was warm and sunny and of course, a great place to be.
These problems we encountered were caused because the ship was too big for most of the ports we went to; it was the first time Celebrity had run this particular cruise and someone hadn’t done the research properly. We were kept waiting on dock sides in hot sun or pouring rain without cover for up to three hours at a time, upsetting for us but very distressing for the less able-bodied. Celebrity are running the same cruise next year, and from our experiences they really should think about making some major changes to make port transfers a lot more accessible for the passengers.
However, for us the great ship more than made up for the shortcomings in the transfers. This is our second cruise on Celebrity, but it definitely won’t be the last!
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