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Celebrity Solstice - June 17 - 24 - Trip Report


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Just arrived home from our first cruise ever and wanted to jot down some thoughts before I forget...

 

The ship was beautiful. Most of the staff were welcoming and friendly with just a few sour faces here and there. Unfortunately, the inconsistencies experienced with Celebrity agents on the phone continued on the ship.

 

Alaska was amazing and the views...! We had "connecting" aft balcony cabins (9378 & 9380) and were so spoiled by the almost 180 degree views we had. The rooms were beautiful and much more spacious than we anticipated. The photos we viewed from other travelers were great at giving us an idea of what to expect, especially the trip report from LouTheGlue (thank you!!), but when we were actually in the space, it felt much roomier. Having a balcony is a huge plus and many (more experienced) people got room service early in the morning of the day we sailed through Endicott Arm (we were supposed to got through Tracy Arm, but due to ice conditions, the Captain decided it was too dangerous) and had their breakfast on their balconies while listening to Brent Nixon speak about the fjord and wildlife. I was so jealous of the people in the balcony below me with their hot coffee and pastries! Next time I know! :p

 

Our stateroom attendants rocked! We were back and forth from our cabins a lot, and ALWAYS saw our attendants and a number of others in the hall and rooms. It seemed like they all worked non-stop.

 

All our excursions were either on our own, or with an independent vendor. More details and photos later...

 

Such an amazing trip and so excited for those whose trips are coming up - you're going to have an amazing time!!

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Sorry!! I can't seem to get the photos to work! If anyone has tips for uploading photos in the message, please let me know! I've tried using CC upload photo, but when I try to View my photos, it says I don't have permission. :confused:

 

one more try...

 

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Per people's suggestions on Cruise Critic :), we arrived in Seattle the night before just to be safe. We made arrangements with Seattle Express to pick us up at the Best Western Airport Hotel at 10am on Embarkation day. The driver arrived exactly at 10am and let us know how many stops we had to make to pick up other people. We were the first stop and made stops at 4 other hotels in the area before driving to Pier 91. He had some commentary on the way pointing out different things.

 

Traffic came to a stand still at the off ramp for the pier. I overhead our driver say it was unusual for it to be so backed up and to see so many private vehicles at this exit. He guessed that maybe some people who should've been using the private vehicle lane was using the bus/taxi lane we were in. Other family members traveling with us got an Uber from their hotel and pretty much confirmed this. They used the private vehicle lane and were inching along for 45 minutes before getting to the drop off area. Because we in the bus/taxi lane, we got through a little bit faster.

 

Seattle Express uses parking spot "R" near the far end of the drop off area. There were many porters around taking luggage and a lot of people everywhere. Two negative things to say about Seattle Express: The driver who took us to the pier charged us $15/pp even though we were quoted $12/pp by Matt, the owner. My husband who paid the driver didn't know this, and paid him the $15/pp. The driver who dropped us off at the airport knew to ask how much we were all quoted. The shuttle on the way back to the airport was in desperate need of repair. Most of the seats were ripped and one of the windows was broken.

 

We unloaded at the pier around 11am. We were Concierge class, so we bypassed the first security line where they checked your passports before letting you up to the main security. It took about 5 minutes to pass through and on to the check in lines. The Concierge line and the main check in line was about the same. Took us about 15 minutes to get to the counter, get checked in, our pictures taken and given our keys. Then it was on to the ship!

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Staff were waiting by the entrance with a COMPLIMENTARY glass of champagne, juice or mimosa. :D

 

We went straight to deck 3 (or 4?) to the MDR for the Concierge lunch. It was really nice to sit down and have lunch without fighting crowds of people. This is one Concierge perk that made us feel taken care of.

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I'm sorry to say that this is when I had my first unpleasant experience on the ship. As lunch was winding down, I had to find a changing table to change my toddler. I head to the restroom outside the MDR and was disappointed to discover no changing table. I asked one of the staff who was extremely helpful and understanding. She called someone on the phone and found out that the only changing table on the ship was on Deck 15 Forward, outside of the Kids club. The MDR is on Decks 3 & 4 Aft.

 

I was not happy. With my toddler in soiled diapers in tow, we made our way up to Deck 15, only to discover (because we didn't have time to explore the ship yet) that there's no way to walk directly from aft to forward on Deck 15. We'd have to go down to Deck 12, walk the length of the ship then up 3 floors to Deck 15. By this time, I had had enough and my toddler was crying. Out of desperation I changed her on the floor in the handicap stall. On a side note, everything on the ship was impeccable, including the bathrooms, and we constantly saw people cleaning, wiping things down.

 

When the same helpful and understanding staff saw me a few minutes later, I was trying very hard not to be too upset and told her how frustrating it was that every time I'd want to change my toddler I'd have to either go back to my room or make a trek to Deck 15 Forward. She was again very understanding and made me feel heard. She said she came from another Celebrity ship and they had changing tables in the bathrooms outside the MDR, so she was also surprised it was not there on the Solstice. It's not her fault and I understand that Celebrity is a higher end cruise line and not really made for young kids. Just wanted to relay this story to any young families out there looking to cruise on the Solstice. Not trying to warn anyone away, just to be aware and not caught off guard.

 

Anyway, by the time we were done with lunch, our rooms were ready and we headed to Deck 9 to check them out.

 

Our stateroom attendant was Collin and he was superb. He gave us a heads up about things and was on top of it all. He and his assistant were always around saying hi to us and the kids. They even made towel animals every evening, which was a fun thing for the kids to look forward to at the end of the day.

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Here's a pic of the afternoon canapes on day 1.

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As the family napped, I took a quick walk around the ship to better orient myself, and to check out the spa. They were offering 2 minute shoulder massages and offering discounts for that day. Some were offering the "at port" price and others 25% off. Seemed like the therapists were setting their own discounts that day. I wish I could've taken them up on their offer as I was battling a migraine, but we had dinner reservations at the Tuscan Grill so there wasn't time.

 

Based on recommendations here on Cruise Critic, we ate dinner at the Tuscan Grill that first day and had a fantastic view as we sailed away.

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Kids dessert - chocolate gelato in a waffle cup. SO GOOD!

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Gladly following along.

 

I agree, I would've been seriously displeased also. They should have the wall changing tables at least in the handicapped stalls in every restroom! I hope you let them hear that on your exit interview!

 

Can't wait for more, Thx:D Our turn soon...soon

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Sea Day 1

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Woke up to gorgeous skies and incredible views. Because everyone slept late, we didn't get to breakfast at the Oceanview Cafe/Buffet (on Deck 14 aft) until 9:30am. This turned out to be the routine for most of the cruise.

 

The breakfast options were your typical buffet type foods with a few ethnic breakfast foods thrown in. There's something for everyone. The grandparents appreciated the porridge and noodles offered while the kids downed bagels with cream cheese, yogurt and oatmeal.

 

After breakfast was the kids club on Deck 15 forward. Some of the counselors were great and very enthusiastic. Others...not so much. Only our older child could attend since the toddler was under 3 and not yet potty trained. BUT one great thing was they allowed us to "rent" toys for our toddler and bring them back to our cabin. In addition to the books and puzzles they had in the kids club, there were many autism friendly toys. Although our children no not have special needs, they LOVED playing with Squigz (we loved them too!), Boogie Board, building blocks and these connecting turtle-looking things. We'd check out 2 kinds of toys at one time, return them a couple of days later and check out 2 more. They didn't limit us the number of toys or how long to keep. We just liked to rotate them out to keep our toddler engaged.

 

After, we explored the forward part of the ship. Checked out the Sky Lounge on Deck 14

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The Solstice Deck on Deck 16

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It was EXTREMELY windy when at the very front center of the deck. My phone's panorama function couldn't stitch well because as I moved my hand from left to right, the wind was so strong I couldn't keep my hand steady. The fenced outdoor basketball court was also on this deck.

 

We made our way down to the Martini Bar (I think) and happened to catch one of the bartenders pouring into a martini tower

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We read about the galley tour, "The Heartbeat of the Operation" and went down to the MDR. We got there 10 minutes early and the space was already more than half filled. We were able to grab some seats near the back

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If you have a large party and are going to save seats, just remember to grab extra numbers on your way in. They hand out numbers for the tour, so if you want your party to stay together, grab extra numbers for the late comers. But keep in mind that if you save a lot of seats, you will get dirty looks ;) (saw this happen literally in front of us)

 

Making the chips for the afternoon canapes!

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Dessert station

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Back to the room to enjoy the balcony

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First Formal Night aka Evening Chic. Ate at the MDR and saw people dressed in all sorts. We saw tiaras (SO cute. There was a table of older ladies all dressed up and wearing tiaras), tshirts, sweaters, suits, a couple of tuxes, and nice tops with dark pants. Our group was in "cocktail" attire (LBD, long formal dress, suits with and without ties). I was thrilled to get more use out of my kids' flower girl dresses. All I can say is, you can't over-dress for formal night.

 

We had early/traditional dining, so by the time we were done with dinner around 7:30pm, the Grand Foyer on Deck 3 was in party mode. Photographers everywhere taking formal pictures, live band w/singer, people dancing...

 

They introduced Captain Tasos and chief crew and formally welcomed everyone aboard.

 

A word about Captain Tasos. We were expecting something akin to an airline captain - making scripted speeches and announcements. We were pleasantly surprised by Captain Tasos' sense of humor and genuine desire to give everyone a great cruise. He'd often sprinkle his morning announcements with jokes and was very entertaining to listen to. Like for example, during his morning announcement that day..."The weather forecast for Ketchikan tomorrow is sunny skies and 67 degrees. You're welcome."

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First stop - Ketchikan

Woke to this view the morning of Ketchikan

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Fantastic weather, sunny skies with a slight breeze. All we had planned for the day was a 10am Lumberjack show which we booked ourselves ahead of time. The ship was docked at the farthest berth from town and you can see them repairing the dock that was damaged a few weeks ago. It took about 10 minutes to fast walk from the ship to the Lumberjack show.

 

The show was pretty crowded and by the time we got there (5 minutes before showtime), we could only find seats in the way back with a partially obstructed view. Regardless, it was fun, especially for the kids. They really like the crowd to participate by cheering, boo-ing and handing out vouchers to the most enthusiastic person.

 

Next we walked around Creek Street and then headed to lunch at the Alaskan Fish House. We had made reservations in advance because we had a large group and was so glad we did. We still had to stand in line to order the food, but they reserved a table for us. It's small inside with very limited seating. We waited about 30 minutes for our food because they waited to bring the food out all at once. The food was so worth it despite the wait. I got the sampler fish and chips which included 1 salmon, 1 halibut and 1 cod. It was hands down the best fish I'd ever had. The fries were good, but the star was the fish. I also tried my husband's salmon chowder and salmon cornbread. Yum! I could see how it would be awesome on a cold rainy day. Wish I took pictures of all the food, but by the time the food got to us we were ravenous.

 

We were back on the ship by 2pm, well before the 3:30pm deadline. We heard from others in our group that there was a really long line to get back on the ship around 2:30/3pm.

 

We had dinner at Silk Harvest which is supposed to be their Asian Fusion cuisine. I'm sorry to say that it was nowhere "Asian" or "Fusion" and was the worst meal we had our entire trip. Maybe we're spoiled in Los Angeles with an abundance of Fusion and authentic Asian restaurants, but we literally tried every appetizer/starter on the menu and couldn't find one great dish. I think the only positive comment was someone who ordered the sushi with black (squid ink) rice. We left full but unsatisfied. :(

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Brent Nixon is one of the best naturalists I have ever met. He is really good!

 

Glad you had an amazing time!

 

We didn't understand what all the fuss was about in regards to Brent Nixon... Until we heard him speak! We couldn't catch any of live shows, but they had recordings on the cabin TV. He is so so enthusiastic and entertaining, it's hard not being drawn into what he's talking about. My 6 yr old watched with me and was cracking up at his antics.

 

It wasn't until much later we found out that he had his lectures on DVDs for sale, $50 for a 2 disc set, which I thought to be a bargain. It helps fund his research. He also does presentations at schools for $350, which we're going to propose to our local elementary school. He's THAT good! I wish we had known about his DVD set before our last day, we would've bought a couple

 

So if anyone has the chance to hear him on their cruise, HIGHLY recommend! :D

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The next morning was supposed to be Tracy Arm & Juneau. But due to ice conditions, the captain felt that it would be too dangerous, so he took us to Endicott Arm to see the Dawes Glacier. Brent Nixon was giving commentary through the PA system which could not be hear inside the staterooms. However, tuning into channel 5 on the TV allowed us to hear him.

 

Channel 5 also showed a live feed from the webcam above the Solstice deck, which showed a mass of people crowded around the forward deck. I couldn't believe how dedicated these people were to get up that early to get a good spot for pictures. Me and my cell phone camera stayed inside. I imagine, based on Brent Nixon's descriptions of things that were coming up and passing by, that it would've been totally worth it had I had I decent camera and zoom. I tried to take a picture of the harbor seals he pointed out and they came out as fuzzy little black dots on my camera phone :rolleyes:

 

If we do this itinerary again, I'll try to remember to get room service delivered early the morning we go through Tracy/Endicott Arm. Some smart people on the deck below us were sipping hot coffee and eating their breakfast pastries while enjoying the beautiful view. My stomach was rumbling so loud... but I didn't want to leave the balcony to get food in fear of missing the sights.

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When we arrived at Dawes Glacier, Captain Tasos spun the ship 360 degrees twice so everyone could have a front view of the glacier, which we GREATLY appreciated! He later said he loved doing "donuts" with the ship and was glad we had great weather for viewing the glacier. "You're welcome again"

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Half of our group went on a small boat excursion to get a closer look at the glaciers. Their report back was that it was tiring, but so worth it. They got to see and hear the glacier calving and it offered such dramatic views. This was again, thanks to recommendations from many Cruise Critic members :D

 

Since we had 2 young kids, we had to pass on the small boat excursion. We took our time in the morning and probably went to the kids club for a bit. Then it was lunch and nap before heading out to Juneau.

 

We decided to do Juneau on our own and researched quite a bit here on Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor for how to best get around. We docked at AJ Dock, the farthest from town (again). There were buses running back and forth between AJ Dock and the Mt. Roberts Tram. Tickets were $4/pp r/t. Although the walk was only 1 mile, it is a but uphill and it was overcast, raining, windy and cold.

 

We were at lunch at the buffet when they first allowed people off the ship. We happened to sit near the window where we could see the bus loading/unloading area. It was really crowded the first 30 minutes with people waiting in the wet weather to get on a shuttle. But they had 3 greyhound buses going back and forth, so the wait wasn't that long. There were a number of brave souls who did the walk to town. By the time we got down to the dock around 2pm, the crowds were gone. We were able to hop on the shuttle right away and got dropped off in the Mt Roberts Tram parking lot where there were at least 7 booths lined up with vendors selling tours and bus tickets. We felt awkward picking a vendor because they were all yelling at us trying to get us to go to their booth.

 

Since we had already figured on using either the white or blue bus, we walked to the blue booth because it was the closest. Asked the gentleman if they operated the "blue bus to Mendenhall glacier" and the price. It was $30/pp r/t. When I asked about buying one way tickets, he said they couldn't do that. I was about to walk away when the gal from the booth next to him chimed in and said they weren't allowed to sell one way tickets anymore. And that they all sold round trip tickets. Not wanting to waste more time in the rain and figuring they had all agreed upon this ahead of time, we bought the round trip tickets and joined the group waiting for the next blue bus.

 

The ride took approximately 20 minutes and the driver drove FAST. He was mumbling that he was already 10 minutes behind and it felt like he was speeding to try to catch up(?). He almost ran a red light a couple of times and braked hard.

 

Once at the park, we found Nugget Trail and started our walk to the waterfall. It took us about 20-30 minutes to walk there via a 6 yr old's pace. :p Lots of stopping to let other people pass us.

 

Despite the wind, rain and cold, the kids had a great time. They mostly enjoyed trying to skip rocks on the water and building "castles" in the sand.

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We saw some brave groups canoe to get a closer look at Mendenhall glacier. They were equipped with boots and pants that covered them up to their chest. If not for the weather, that looked like something that would be fun.

 

After several photos and 2 pairs of freezing, sandy hands later, we headed back.

 

Sidebar - We were dressed in layers, as many people had suggested. Tshirt, fleece, jacket, waterproof layer, gloves, hats, thermal pants, waterproof pants, waterproof shoes/sneakers. We had also brought a rain cover for our stroller. We brought a travel system stroller, so it was larger than an umbrella stroller but not as large as a jogging stroller. It did ok on the trail, but got stuck in the sand by the waterfall. A regular small umbrella stroller would've had a little difficulty maneuvering Nugget Trail at some parts. Back to that rain cover - so glad we had it! As much trouble as it was getting it on and off, it kept our stroller and toddler dry.

 

We had dinner reservations at the Twisted Fish, next to the Mt. Roberts Tram. So glad we had reservations because it was packed in there. We ordered king crab, cedar plank salmon, seared tuna, and seafood pasta. Everything was delicious and the portions generous.

 

Connected to the restaurant is Taku Store. We bought our "souvenirs" here - smoked salmon and salmon jerky. Their salmon jerky was the best we'd tasted and regret not buying more! We tried finding more salmon jerky later at other ports and on the ship, but they were all inferior to the ones we got at Taku. (The jerky I bought on the ship were slightly fishy and had bones in them)

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The next day was Skagway where we had planned an excursion with Dyea Dave. Since we had a large group, we had a private tour in a 11 passenger van including car/booster seats for the kids. We wanted to ride the train one way, and the only one that was available was the 7:45am train from Skagway to Fraser. We purchased our train tickets and arranged to have Dyea Dave meet us at Fraser to drive up to Emerald Lake and the back to town.

 

Kathy met us at the dock in her "top hat" and introduced us to our tour guide and driver. (I forgot her name gah! so sorry!!) We were dropped off at the WPYR ticket office to pick up our tickets and board the train that was behind the building. There were 4 or 5 train cars; we were in the last car (I think it was for people who purchased their tickets directly from WPYR). Unfortunately, by the time we got on the train, there was only 1 table/seating arrangement on the left hand side of the train. Since we were traveling up to Fraser, the left and side is where most of the views are.

 

This didn't matter so much as we were out on the platform in the front and back of the car most of the time. This was one day I wished I had brought gloves and a hat to cover my ears. It was very wet, windy and cold out on the platform on the front of the car. I was very glad for my waterproof pants, jacket and shoes.

 

When we stopped at Fraser, the conductor came in our car to find out how many people would be getting off and to let us know customs agents will be coming aboard to check passports. They were very serious about the custom agents and asked that everyone be in their seats with their passports open to photos near our faces. Once we were cleared, we quickly found our guide and was on our way.

 

Our first stop was a picturesque lake. We nicknamed it Mosquito Lake due to the amount of mosquitos everywhere.

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Since there were swarms everywhere, we stayed only a couple of minutes before moving on.

 

Our next stop was the dog sledding camp. This is the new location Michelle Phillips opened. It's small and she has enough dogs to make 2 teams. There were 2 sets of puppies, one set approximately 6 weeks old the other closer to 9 months. Even though it was raining, we really wanted to do the "sled". Michelle was our driver and uses a jeep-like cart instead of a sled.ry%3D400

As she took us around she explained how the team works, who the lead dogs are and their functions. She was very sweet and stopped to take pictures for us. And you can tell from her language how much she loves the dogs and what she does.

 

After our ride, she took us to a shed where she had her winter sled and gear on display. She gave a 10 minute talk about the equipment and answered any questions we had. Although it was cold and wet, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed talking to her and the experience.

 

We bypassed Carcross Crossing and stopped for lunch at the Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery instead. When we asked about Carcross Crossing and the dog sled rides offered there, our guide equated it to "Disneyland" compared to the new dog sled location Michelle opened. She said the new location and the bakery, were more authentic.

 

The bakery was a little crowded but we were on the tail end of the lunch rush. Unfortunately, that meant some of the food items were sold out. We had egg salad and turkey sandwiches, tomato soup and cinnamon buns.

 

The rest of our ride was pretty uneventful. Due to the lousy weather, we mostly stayed in the van and only got out a handful of times for pictures. ry%3D400

 

Most of us napped on the drive back to town and, wouldn't you know it, the weather cleared up! :rolleyes: So the rest of our time at Skagway was walking around the main strip in town.

 

We took the kids to a local park just off the main street on 6th street. ry%3D400 Mollie Walsh Park was awesome! Google maps does not have an updated picture of this park. It is now 2 large structures with shredded rubber ground cover and a large set of swings. AWESOME place for the kids to let loose and get those wiggles out! They had picnic tables and bathrooms too!

 

We got on the local shuttle that picks up right along the main street and drove us back to where the ship was docked. For those with mobility issues, the ships had golf carts running back and forth between the shuttle drop off and the ship because there's still a little distance to talk.

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A few pictures I left out...

Mendenhall Glacier at the end of Nugget Trail

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WPYR view from left side of the train headed up to Fraser

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We knew we were going to have to do a little bit of laundry while on the cruise, so per CC member's recommendations, I brought a laundry line and some magnets. The magnets were supposed to hold up to 18 lbs, but couldn't hold up a laundry line once clothes were added. So here's my solution:

First hooked one end to the towel bar ry%3D400

Hooked the other end to the magnet, then set it directly above the shower door so the magnet rested on the top

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This kept the clothes from pulling the magnet down the wall and we were able to hang 2 adult tops or 4 toddler items at one time.

 

Magnets, highlighters and multiport chargers were used constantly. Since we brought along our video monitor, white noise machine which also had a night light, in addition to our iwhatevers and cell phones, we needed more than 4 plugs. I bought the KOPPLA 3-port USB charger from IKEA and a 3 way adapter plug which allowed us to plug in all our devices.

 

While on the subject of useful things, here are some things I found to be helpful and things I wish I knew:

 

Everyone in our group had opted for free wifi and one of our perks, so we were able to use the wifi to text one another throughout the cruise. This was ESSENTIAL to us figuring out who is doing what and where. We had brought along walkie talkies just in case, and found no use for them since we could communicate via text.

 

I packed way too much cold weather clothes. Being from Los Angeles (where it hit record temps of 120 degrees while we were on the cruise), I was afraid of being cold in the public areas of the ship and while on excursions. I needn't have worried, because even when it was cold, rainy and windy, we were never outside for very long. We didn't do any glacier hikes or small boat excursions, so I never used my thick fleece sweatshirt that took up way too much room in my luggage.

 

The mosquitos in Skagway were truly terrifying and I was kicking myself for not keeping my bug repellent with me.

 

Waterproof pants! Best purchase for this cruise. I loved these convertible waterproof pants from Columbia. They have a slight stretch which made them very comfortable.

 

It would've been nice to have a hat with a brim to wear under the hood of my rain jacket when hiking Nugget Trail. The rain would run into my eyes. Not a big deal, but would've made it a little more comfortable.

 

A good pair of binoculars will allow you to see wildlife from the ship. I brought along our small binoculars which were slightly better than the ones provided in our C1 room and could see very little.

 

Our toddler is prone to nose bleeds when the air is dry. We had to deal with multiple nose bleeds in the middle of the night. Only solution was to keep the balcony doors open at night to let some of the sea air in. This seemed to help keep the nose bleeds under control.

 

Wish I had brought a couple of binder clips. The curtains do not stay closed and sunset was at 10pm and sunrise 3am. I also ended up using the cloth napkins as a bib for my toddler and it was difficult to keep them around her neck. A binder clip would've come in handy.

 

We ordered room service twice and wish we had done it more! They had smoothies on the room service menu that we didn't see anywhere else. They were really really good! We always put 2 for the coffee and they gave us a pitcher with enough coffee for 6 cups.

 

I thought the omelettes at the MDR were far superior to the omelettes at the Oceanview. The omelette station at the buffet was alway swamped and they just throw the ingredients together. But I thought the coffee at both were very good! Nice and strong with good flavor.

 

Drinks at the Molecular bar...mmmm....I'm not a big drinker and didn't happen to get a drink from there until the end of the cruise. They have some great cocktails. There was a Simple Mojito but oh it was SO good! Sigh, I'm going to miss that...

 

Speaking of drinks, the Affogato at Cafe el Bacio was my favorite - a scoop of vanilla gelato plus espresso. Another one I'm going to miss...

 

We didn't enjoy the food at Bistro on Five and were disappointed at the crepes. It wasn't worth the wait or extra charge. When we called to make reservations for lunch, they told us we didn't need them, even after we said we were a party of 10. When we arrived, the hostess tried to persuade us to eat somewhere else by saying that another large party just sat down and service would be slow. Yet another example of Celebrity's inconsistencies and miscommunications within their staff.

 

Along the same lines, we had to reverse some charges that occurred pre-cruise. We tried to resolve it over the phone pre-cruise, but was told it would be easier to speak with Guest Relations on the ship. Since we were Concierge class and there was now a dedicated Concierge desk (Deck 7), we first went there to see if they could help. They could not. The lady patiently listened as I explained our situation and then told me I'd have to go down to Guest Relations since they are the pursers.

 

Stood in line at Guest Relations (Deck 3) and once I got to the front, the lady listened patiently and said since this was a specialty dining charge, I'd have to go to the maitre d at Tuscan Grill to have the charges reversed. She said the maitre d should be there and that he could help me.

 

So now I head to Tuscan Grill (Deck 5) where there was no one around. It was around 3pm and there was no staff in sight. I wandered around a little going inside Tuscan Grill, by Blu and Silk Harvest...still no one. Finally a bartender happens to walk by and I ask if he could tell me where to find the maitre d. Poor guy had no idea, it was his first week on Solstice. But he was very kind and was able to grab another staff member to ask.

 

This other staff member was, unfortunately, not very pleasant. He basically told me I had to come back at 5:30pm when the maitre d would be present for dinner. I told him that I couldn't come back at that time because we had dinner reservations at 5pm and that I was told by Guest Relations that the maitre d should be here now. He just stared at me and kind of shrugged. So finally I asked if I should go back to Guest Relations and tell them that he told me I needed to wait until 5:30pm to see the maitre d. I saw a phone on the wall near us and asked if I could use the phone to call Guest Relations. As I was dialing, another staff member, walked by and the guys I was speaking with earlier grabbed him and asked if he could help.

 

It turns out he was staff at Murano, where we were to have dinner that night. He was very professional, and asked that I follow him to the Murano front desk where there's a computer. I explained the situation to him and he was able to reverse the charges. The only caveat was he said they needed to charge a cover for kids dining at the specialty restaurants. I didn't read this anywhere at any time when looking into specialty dining. The Celebrity agents that booked the specialty restaurants for us pre-cruise assured us that children 5 and under were free. I was too tired and frustrated to argue by this point and my family was waiting for me plus we were dining at Murano that night, so I just let it go.

 

Celebrity Solstice is a beautiful ship with some very wonderful staff, an awesome captain and some great programs. BUT the hidden charges, inconsistent information given by various Celebrity agents and staff, the disconnect and miscommunication among the staff themselves, and the impossible website has made this a highly frustrating experience. But now that we know, it makes us better prepared for next time (if there is a next time).

Edited by mom02
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