Celebrity Solstice is the highest rated ship in Australian Waters and has amazing reviews so we were eager to see how she compared to previous cruises. Although owned by The Royal Caribbean Group, Celebrity is touted as a step up from the RC ships.
We have only cruised 3 times and all with different companies. The first was on Costa Victoria in the Med, second was an Asian cruise on the Sapphire Princess but the third and best of all was Celebrity Solstice to New Zealand.
Celebrity Solstice was built by Meyer Werft in Germany but is registered in Malta, which is why you will see the Maltese flag flying. She made her maiden voyage on 23rd November 2008 and was the first of five Solstice Class ships. The ship can hold 2,850 guests as well as 1,250 crew and has a cruising speed of 24 knots. There are 19 decks and she is 1,041 feet long and weighs around 122,000 tonnes.
Deck 3 Celebrity Solstice
The Grand Foyet is near the centre of the ship and a hive of activity day and night. Live music is performed here and you can listen to it from the Cafe and Bars that surround the area. The atrium covers decks 3 to 5 with a sweeping staircase as well as nearby lifts.
Grand Épernay Restaurant
The Main Dining Room is spread over 2 floors (decks 3 and 4). Deck 3 is for Traditional Dining (set times) and Deck 4 is Anytime Dining. We chose Anytime as we wanted to eat when we felt like it and not stuck with a certain time. It worked well for us and were either seated straight away or given a buzzer (by the time we had ordered a drink from a nearby bar, the buzzer had gone off). You can also request to sit in the same area each night, therefore having the same staff serve you. This beautiful restaurant is a formal dining service and A La Carte, all included in the price of the cruise. You do have to pay for drinks though if you don’t have a Drinks Package. The food was delicious and service was first class.
This was our favourite bar to pop in to after being on land. It’s close to the Grand Foyet and a great place to relax over a drink after a busy day sightseeing.
The theatre is spread over 3 decks (3, 4 and 5) and is where the live performances are held. There are normally two shows each night of the same performance, giving everyone the chance to see it. It can seat over 1100 guests but still retains an intimate atmosphere.
Our favourite shows were The Other Guys, Euphoria (an aerial show) and Rock City.
This restaurant is solely for the use of Suite Guests.
Deck 4 Celebrity Solstice
This beautiful wine bar close to the MDR makes it the perfect place to have a glass of wine while waiting for your table. This is also where the wine tastings are held along with learning about the different wines around the world.
The place to dance the night away, Solstice’s nightclub.
The casino is open when at sea.
Probably the busiest and most popular of the bars. As the name suggests, this bar serves all types of martinis. The frosted bar is pretty cool and it has a wonderful and fun vibe to it.
This is an intimate entertainment venue which seats just over 200 guests. You will see presentations, movies, activities and some live entertainment here.
Shops on The Boulevard
Keep an eye out for the special sales they have to pick up a bargain or two.
Deck 5 Celebrity Solstice
This is where you will find Blu, Tuscan Grille, Murano, Sushi on 5 and Silk Harvest.
Blu is reserved exclusively for AquaClass guests but the others are available to all guests at an extra cost. There are packages that work out cheaper.
Café al Bacio and Gelateria
A stunning coffee shop with amazing views. They also do an assortment of teas and Hot Chocolate as well as pastries, cakes and gelato.
World Class Bar & Tiffany’s
Decks 9, 10 & 11 Celebrity Solstice
These are mainly staterooms but the Card Room is on Deck 9, which also has board games and puzzles, and the Library on Deck 10. Both of these are popular places to hang out on sea days.
Deck 12 Celebrity Solstice
Canyon Ranch Spa, Fitness Centre & Persian Garden
Facilities include a solarium, lap pool, Persian Garden, private treatment rooms, relaxation room, and fitness center.
Solarium and Spa
An adults only indoor pool with sun loungers and the Spa Cafe which serves healthy options.
The two outdoor pools and Hot Tubs get quite crowded on Sea Days although there are plenty of Sun Loungers in the sun and shade. There is a Pool Bar too for any drinks you may want. However, we actually found it quite hard to get served here so ended up going into The Oceanview cafe for drinks.
Deck 14 Celebrity Solstice
Sky Observation Lounge
We loved this bar. It was a great place to be for Sail Away and also had lots going on including quizzes and DJs at night. It’s right at the front of the ship and has amazing views from its floor to ceiling windows.
Mast Grill and Bar
The place to grab a Burger or Hot Dog to eat by the pool.
There’s also a jogging track on this deck but only goes round half the deck so isn’t very long.
Oceanview Cafe & Bar
The Buffet here is the best and largest we have experienced at sea. It has separate stations which eases the burden so there are hardly any queues. The quality is amazing for a buffet, especially of this size.
We normally had breakfast and lunch here but always had dinner in the MDR. It can be very busy at peak times and it’s sometimes hard to find a table. We always found a spot before getting food (you would see some people wandering around for ages with food getting cold). There’s always pizzas, pastas, grilled meats, salads and curries on the lunch menu but it also has changing menus from around the world for that added variety. The curries were delicious and I had to try them out every lunch. Our daughters loved the ice cream (either soft serve or a variety of ice cream) that is also included in the price of the cruise.
The bar out the back of the Cafe has seating if you want to dine al fresco or just have a drink and take in the view from the AFT.
Deck 15 Celebrity Solstice
This bar has stunning views from the AFT with real grass. The Solstice was the first cruise ship to have real grass and picnic blankets are provided so you can sit on the lawn and enjoy the views. It was very busy when we sailed away from Sydney and had a great atmosphere.
The Lawn Club
Here you can watch a movie or relax on the manicured grass. This is where you will also find the Alcoves that are available to hire for the day.
This deck is also where the kids clubs are based and the Basketball court.
Deck 16 Celebrity Solstice
This deck is only small but the views are impressive (although it can be very windy). There are sun loungers to sit on to soak up the rays.
There’s always something going on, especially on Sea Days. Make sure to check the Today guide that’s delivered to your cabin each night.
The highlights for us was the ship’s Galley Tour, How the Solstice was built presented by Captain Tasos and the music trivia quizzes. The Galley Tour was very interesting as was the presentation by Captain Tasos (which was also very funny due to his wonderful sense of humour) and the trivia is always a lot of fun.
If you are lucky enough to have Captain Tasos as your Captain, you are in for a real treat. Make sure to listen in every day for his navigation report “direct from the Navigational Bridge”. He is not only one of the youngest captains but is also very friendly and approachable. Here is a photo of him with our daughters:
This was our best cruise to date and we would definitely sail with Celebrity again, maybe even on Solstice. The service was exceptional, food was delicious and the ship itself was beautiful.
We stayed in Verandah cabin 9155.
Have you been on a cruise? Let me know what you thought of it.
Also, if you have any questions relating to this ship, I am more than happy to try and answer them.
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