May 24, 2024

Aboard Celebrity Solstice – Part Two

Celebrity Solstice launched in 2008.

Most cruisers know booking early has its advantages. You can select the cabin and deck of your choice, book the shore excursions you want and get your preferred dinning selection. We didn’t book early enough it seemed on our Celebrity cruise and ended up waitlisted for the early dinner sitting. When it came time for the first night of dinning we were slotted into “Select” or open seating. Although this can be fine most of the time, we ended at a table in a high traffic area and decided to duke it out with one of the dining assistants the next day to find a table in the early sitting.

Finally got the table we wanted – two by a window!

Next day, the matter was quickly sorted after a conversation with Nellie, a maitre’d assistant and we got a spot at a table for ten. So far, we’re the only ones at the long table with a window on to the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Solstice is a 120,000 ton Panamax ship carrying about 2800 passengers. About 80 per cent of the ship are balcony cabins along its 12 decks. It has two atriums and the main one, opposite the guest relations desk is a main gathering area dancing with an excellent nightly cover band. One of the main features, as mentioned, is a large lawn area on deck 15.

Celebrity Cruises has since the Covid 19 era continued to get high praise for its clean ships, excellent food and service staff. While the line has been known for many years for its cuisine, its service, in my view, had sometimes been a bit on the cool side with indifferent waiters and bar staff. On this cruise, I would say the service has improved and ranks with another ‘Premium’ class cruise line know for its friendly and engaged staff – Holland America.

The itinerary for this cruise includes Moorea, Tahiti, and Raiatea. After that it heads to Auckland and Bay of Islands in New Zealand before the last leg to Sydney. Tomorrow we arrive in Moorea where we’ve rented some bicycles to tour this beautiful island. This is a sentimental stop for our editor, Anne Vipond, as she visited her with her parents when she was 16. They stayed at Club Med which unfortunately close many years ago.