A Detailed Celebrity Solstice Review with Photos

Are you thinking of booking a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice? We cruised on her from Sydney to Auckland and put together this detailed Celebrity Solstice review.

Celebrity Solstice was one of the highest rated ships in Australian waters when we booked our cruise. It also had excellent reviews so we were eager to see how she compared to our previous cruises. Although owned by The Royal Caribbean Group, Celebrity is touted as a step up from the RC ships.

Celebrity Solstice Facts

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.

celebrity solstice cruise ship in the ocean with views of all the decks and balconies

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Celebrity Solstice Review

Embarkation

As we were staying at The Rydges Sydney Harbour, we were able to drop our luggage off early and return for check-in. This saved queuing up later and we were able to walk straight into the terminal.

As check-in had just opened up, there wasn’t much of a line inside and we made our way to the check-in desks quickly. After an efficient check-in, we had a 15-minute wait before boarding.

celebrity solstice cruise ship in port

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.

the grand foyet of a cruise ship with seating

Grand Épernay Restaurant

The Main Dining Room is spread over two 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 request to sit in the same area each night, therefore having the same staff.

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 the service was first class. It features a two-story glass wine tower and dazzling chandeliers.

the main dining room on a cruise ship

Passport Bar

This was our favourite bar to pop in to after being on land. It’s close to the Grand Foyet and a great spot to relax over a drink after a busy day sightseeing. It’s close to Guest Relations and Shore Excursions which makes it the ideal place to plan your next day.

a bar on a cruise ship

Solstice Theatre

The theatre is spread over three 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. Solstice Theatre 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.

men on stage at a theatre production

Luminae

The Luminae restaurant is solely for the use of Suite Guests.

Deck 4 Celebrity Solstice

Cellar Masters

This beautiful wine bar is close to the MDR making it the perfect location to have a glass of wine while waiting for your table. Cellar Masters was inspired by the Napa Valley and holds a global wine tour where you learn about wines around the world.

an opulent wine bar onboard a cruise ship

Quasar

Quasar is where you can dance the night away, Solstice’s nightclub.

a nightclub with sofas and bright lights

Fortunes Casino

The casino is open when at sea only.

the entrance to a cruise ships casino

Martini Bar

The Martini Bar, inspired by ice and snow, is the busiest and most popular of the ship bars. As the name suggests, this bar serves all types of martinis and elegant cocktails. The frosted bar top is a fun added touch.

a martini bar on a cruise ship

Celebrity Central

Celebrity Central is an intimate entertainment venue that 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 in the shops and pick up a bargain or two.

Deck 5 Celebrity Solstice

Specialty Restaurants

Deck 5 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 you can pre-purchase that work out cheaper.

a dining table set for two overlooking the wake of a cruise ship
Tuscan Grille

Ensemble Lounge

The Ensemble Lounge is an elegant, romantic bar perfect for after dinner drinks. This intimate bar lounge has live music most evenings.

a dark romantic bar lounge

Café al Bacio and Gelateria

Café al Bacio is a stunning coffee shop with amazing views. As well as coffee. you can find an assortment of teas and hot chocolate as well as pastries, cakes, and gelato. If there aren’t any desserts you fancy at dinner, come here for coffee and cake. Coffee liquors are on the menu too.

a cafe on a cruise ship

World Class Bar

World Class Bar is where you’ll find the expert mixologists creating world-class cocktails using fresh ingredients and premium spirits.

a bar with stools on cruise liner

Decks 9, 10 & 11 Celebrity Solstice

Decks 9, 10, and 11 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.

the atrium of a cruise ship with games room and library
The Atrium with Games Room & Library

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

The Solarium and Spa is an adults-only indoor pool with sun loungers and the Spa Café serves healthy food and drinks.

Pools

The two outdoor pools and hot tubs get crowded on sea days although there are plenty of sun loungers in the sun and shade. There is a pool bar for any drinks you may want, but we found it hard to get served so ended up going into The Oceanview Café for drinks.

cruise ship pool deck with swimming pools bar and sun loungers

Deck 14 Celebrity Solstice

Sky Observation Lounge

The Sky Observation Lounge was one of our favourite places on Celebrity Solstice. It was a great place to be for Sail Away and had lots going on including quizzes and DJs at night. It’s at the front of the ship and has amazing views from its floor to ceiling windows with comfortable seating.

two people sitting at a table in an observation lounge on a cruyise ship

Mast Grill and Bar

The Mast Grill and Bar is a casual eatery serving Burgers, Hot Dogs and chips to eat by the pool.

There’s a jogging track on this deck but it only goes round half the deck so isn’t very long.

Oceanview Cafe & Bar

The Buffet at Oceanview Café 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. I recommend finding a table before getting food (you see people wandering around for ages with food getting cold). There’s always pizzas, pasta, grilled meats, salads, and curries on the lunch menu but it 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 Oceanview Bar out the back 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

Sunset Bar

Sunset 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.

an outdoor bar with seating at the back of a ship

The Lawn Club

At The Lawn Club, you can watch a movie or relax on the manicured grass. This is where you will 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.

a grass lawn and alcoves on the top deck of cruise ship

Deck 16 Celebrity Solstice

Deck 16 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. We spotted a pod of dolphins surfing the waves from the bow of the ship from up there.

Activities

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.

Captain Tasos

Unfortunately Captain Tasos no longer captains the Celebrity Solstice. If you are lucky enough to have him as your captain on another Celebrity cruise, you are in for a treat. He is the funniest and friendliest captain we have experienced and will always put the safety of his passengers and crew first.

Conclusion

This was our best cruise to date and we would definitely sail with Celebrity again, maybe even on Solstice. The service was exceptional, the food was delicious and the ship itself was well maintained. The ship is due to be refurbished in late 2021.

The only issue was the constant upsell the first couple of days for photo, drinks, and restaurant packages, which we politely declined. We knew the staff were just doing their job but I personally don’t think Celebrity should push them to upsell.

We stayed in Verandah cabin 9155, you can read our review and see photos here.

If you are looking for a hotel pre or post-cruise in Sydney, you can find out the best places to stay in Sydney before a cruise here.

Prices and Itineraries

Cruise Direct was voted the world’s leading cruise travel agent for 2019 and 2020. They offer a best price guarantee and easy online booking.

Click here to see what amazing deals they have today and check the upcoming itineraries for Celebrity Cruises.

celebrity solstice cruise ship in sydney australia

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19 thoughts on “A Detailed Celebrity Solstice Review with Photos”

    • We’ve been on 4 now and we love them. Although, we like to do a variety of holiday styles so wouldn’t cruise all the time.

      Reply
  1. Thanks Wendy n yep sure will keep an eye out for more posts ……..again my sister aka seasoned traveler is booking shore excursions etc all i really have to do is say yes to her ( as every younger sibling would ever argue anyhow lol ) and make sure my passport arrives . Sister is insisting on covering costs which is lovely!

    Reply
  2. My sister is taking me on the Solstice to celebrate my 60th on October 27th to NZ . My one n only experience cruising was on the P& O Oriana when i was 24…so a LONG time ago. We had an inside cabin on C deck on that and i was a bit queasy a couple of days . Makes me nervous for this cruise despite people telling me not to worry . On the Solstice we are in Cabin 8001 ?? its a family suite i believe should i take some anti nausea meds with me? Oh btw I loved reading of your experiences and seeing the ship up close thanks so much I am VERY excited and yet very nervous about the upcoming adventure.

    Reply
    • You will be fine. She’s a big ship with stabilisers that the Captain puts on a lot of the time. I suffer from sea sickness but didn’t get queasy at all and we had a couple of pretty rough days. We took some tablets with us but they give out free ones from Guest Services if you need them. The cabins do creak a bit when it’s rough at night so maybe take some ear plugs with you (that was the worst part for me haha). Seriously, don’t worry, you will have the best time. I’m currently working on what we did in port so pop back if you are interested. I’m very jealous, I’d love to do it all again 🙂

      Reply
  3. We’ve never cruised Celebrity. We are huge Royal Caribbean fans because they’re so geared up for families. How does Celebrity compare here? The ships look amazing.

    Reply
    • We haven’t sailed on RC but I would say that they are more family oriented than Celebrity. There’s not much to keep the kids entertained on this ship but that was one of the reasons we chose it. Going during school holidays, we were concerned the RC cruise would be overrun with children. However we did still find plenty of things to do to keep us all occupied on sea days 😊

      Reply
  4. this sounds like an amazing cruise. Love that there are so many different areas and things to do. And the adult only areas sound fab. the decor and food look so wonderful, we can see why its your fave.

    Reply
  5. This looks like an incredible cruise ship! Reading this has really got me excited for my cruise next month with Holland America! Hope the food is as good as it looks is on this ship! Great photos 👍

    Reply
  6. I absolutely love cruising, and enjoyed reading your detailed review of the Celebrity Solstice. My family and I have completed nine cruises and seven of them have been with Disney Cruise Line. Out of all those cruises, sailing the Inside Passage of Alaska with Disney has been my favorite and most memorable experience.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your lovely reply. I’ve seen that you’ve been on a few cruises. You’re lucky that so many depart from the US. We are really restricted here with choice of cruise line. Disney looks like a lot of fun and we’d love to go to Alaska 🙂

      Reply

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