Solstice: A benchmark in modern day cruising
Peter Smith | December 18, 2013 | Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Solstice
Just a few words on Solstice, in fact just one word ‘Fantastic!’
Probably our laziest cruise ever, but we thoroughly enjoyed it from begininning to end.
As some of you may probably know, we are not the worlds greatest ‘big’ ship fans, but we couldnt, and simply wouldnt want to fault her.
As a ship, we never knew in the mornings before opening the curtains, whether we were in Port or still at sea, hardly ever felt any movement at sea, and simply no vibration or ‘juddering’ when manouvreing or coming into port either.
The food was always good, the Beef and the steaks divine. (Sorry all you’ veggie’ people, but you were well catered for too!!)
We skipped breakfast everyday of the cruise, but we enjoyed the vast array of lunchtime choices of the Ocean View Cafe, normally Soup and a Sandwich was enough for me, and Alan liked the single plate option of choosing a few things to pick at, and go back again for a fresh plate if he felt like something extra. Have to say that some folks plates were always piled high though. Usually those who probably needed it the least!
We’d both prepaid online prior to the cruise for the Premium alcohol package, which proved a winner as it covered just about every drink that we wanted onboard throughout the cruise. Champers on Sailaway, Beers, dinner wines by the glass, cocktails to mocktials, through to speciallity coffees throughout the day or even Evian water to keep in the cabin fridge, rather than pay the mini Bar charges for it. (Dont take this a cheap way to cheat the mini-bar, it just doesn’t work out like that!)
We booked late sitting in the Grand Epernay dining room food & service 10/10 and ate there every evening with one exception when we booked Murano, food 9/10 (just a bit too rich for our more Eastern based tummies) but service 11/10 for charm, attention to detail and feel good factor.
Our favourite evening bar was Ensemble Lounge, and being served by the warm and welcoming Lily, the first onboard to remember our names by just the second evening.Some really nice relaxed music played in the bar. 10/10 again.
Didnt go to any of the shows, not our thing, but enjoyed liars club and varoius deck parties and will remember forever the specatacle of ’60’s night with people twisting down on deck 3 with the glass lift going up and down with people twisting away inside them. Cruising magic!
Perhaps our only gripe was not with the fabulous ship or crew, but with the Celebrity management ‘system’ as such.
Charging people within their care US $22 dollars each for a shuttle bus into Brisbane, went beyond the pale in my view.
We didnt go into Brisbane in the end, because we’d been before, but also because I believe ALL cruise lines have a moral obligation to provide transport at a minimal cost into the actual cities, that they publish in their itineraries. Rather that just the nearest port, large enough to berth the ship being considered good enough.
Cruise lines everywhere should work with local trading groups to provide a mutually beneficial trade off between the need for reasonable transportation to the true destination, and all those other shops, restaurants and outlets that significantly enjoy the benefit of having new external cash injected into their local economies.
In my view 22 US dollars per person was simply too much to ask, for a shared shuttle bus into town with potentially 40 other people. Granted that Australia is expensive nowadays, but it’s not THAT expensive yet!
That all said, the ship and the Celebrity onboard service was amongst the very best we’ve ever experienced. Totally recommended!
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