From the chaise lounges on the pool deck to the glass enclosed Solarium and chic shopping boulevard, Celebrity Solstice is one of Australia’s most elegant yet affordable ships. There is The Lawn Club where passengers can enjoy a picnic, play a game of boules or catch a movie on the ship’s outdoor movie screen. Entertainment is a hit, from engaging “edutainment” lectures to production shows and low-key options such as a guitar duo. Service is also a highlight, with friendly and professional staff who make it easy for passengers to relax and enjoy their holiday.
Celebrity Solstice rooms
Celebrity Solstice offers an impressive range of accommodation, from interior, oceanview and balcony staterooms to AquaClass rooms which have additional spa-themed perks, including access to Blu, the ship’s ‘spa cuisine’ restaurant, which is only available to AquaClass guests. AquaClass cabins also enjoy unlimited access to the Persian Gardens, a haven of relaxation with an aromatic steam room, herbal sauna, traditional Finnish sauna, various therapeutic showers and a row of coveted heated lounges with stunning sea views.
Our standard balcony cabin was contemporary with a pleasing colour palette of warm tones. We liked the bathroom which included a shower with a glass screen instead of a shower curtain and had plenty of storage space. We did notice a few signs of wear and tear in our cabin. However, it was spotlessly clean and serviced twice daily by a steward who greeted us by name each time he spotted us in the corridor.
Suites include access to the suite-only restaurant Luminae and Michael’s Club, a clubby bar and meeting place where conversation with fellow travellers and complimentary drinks are the order of the day. If you are thinking of splurging on a suite, Celebrity Solstice is a good choice as you get plenty of extra perks included for the additional spend. If you were planning on buying a drinks package anyway, upgrading to a suite can be a cost effective treat if you can pick it up for a good price.
Celebrity Solstice bars
It gives some idea of the quality of the bars onboard that not all suite guests head to Michael’s Club to enjoy their complimentary pre-dinner drinks every night. Our favourite bar was the Martini Bar, where the bottle-flipping, glass-stacking bar tenders entertained the crowd by pouring up to a dozen drinks at once. Seats at the ice-topped bar are highly coveted and disappear more quickly than the Martini Bar’s popular Blue Wave martinis.
Other popular drinking spots included the Sky Lounge, with its wrap-around floor to ceiling windows and uninterrupted sea views, and the sultry Ensemble which is located in an atrium outside the ship’s collection of specialty restaurants. We also enjoyed people watching at the Passport Bar near the shore excursions desk.
Restaurants on Celebrity Solstice
If you prefer to stick with complimentary dining options when you’re on a cruise, there are plenty of choices onboard this ship. We found the food to be of a high quality at Celebrity Solstice’s attractive main dining room which had a towering two-storey wine tower and multi-course meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of our favourite lunch spots was the casual Mast Grill near the pool. With the sun shining overhead, it was the perfect place to grab a casual lunch to enjoy on a deck chair in between dips in the pool on sea days. The AquaSpa Café, which is located in the undercover Solarium pool area, was our go-to for breakfast and had healthy choices such as muffins, yoghurt cups and fruit plates complemented by sweeping sea views.
The specialty restaurants cost extra but are worth every cent, especially the French-inspired Murano which is a date-night dining experience with all the trimmings and has some of the best food on the ship. Linen-napped tables, fine glassware, low lighting and opulent décor create an intimate mood at this premier restaurant.
Service is warm and friendly with white-gloved staff, silver service and gueridon-style cooking with dishes flambeed tableside. Highlights include traditional chateaubriand for two or cognac flambeed lobster tail with smoked bacon and Dijon-cream for mains, and a rich Valrhona cocoa cake for dessert. Murano frequently books out during the first few days on shorter itineraries. Making reservations on-line before you depart ensures you don’t miss out on this popular restaurant or get stuck with a less than ideal dining time.
Celebrity Solstice activities
Celebrity Solstice Hot Glass Class
Hot Glass Classes are held on the top deck of the ship where there is a hot glass studio staffed by a team of talented artists. However, you don’t need to be an expert to make something beautiful. Passengers can sign up and create a paper weight, ornament or even a ruffle-edged fruit bowl. We took the advice of another passenger and watched a class first to pick up extra tips before we made our own pieces.
Celebrity Solstice pools
There are two outdoor pools with raised hot tubs and showers plus plenty of deckchairs which are available either in the shade or the sun depending on your preference. On sea days, you will often find live music on the pool deck in the afternoon. Passengers vs. ship officers water polo competitions also liven up the atmosphere occasionally. However, this area is predominantly a place to relax, soak up the sun and chat with fellow passengers. The adults-only Solarium is open to cruisers aged 16 and above and has a retractable roof, two hot tubs and a pool surrounded by ferns and flowers.
Celebrity Solstice Silent Disco
After an enjoyable evening of wining and dining, our family went to the Martini Bar to participate in our first ever Silent Disco. Tables had been cleared and the bartenders were already wearing headphones, rocking out as they mixed everyone’s cocktails. We collected a set of headphones and discovered they had a switch so we could swap between three different music channels: old time favourites like the Blues Brothers song “Shake Your Tail Feather”, contemporary pop (think Michael Jackson) and a live mix from the ship’s DJ.
Coloured lights on the headphones changed colour, depending on what channel we were listening to. We danced with each other and other passengers listening to the same channel, then switched to the live DJ mix and danced like no one was watching. Perhaps the best thing about the Silent Disco on Celebrity Solstice is no one knows if you aren’t a great dancer or keeping in time with the music because they can’t hear it.
Celebrity Solstice Alcoves
The Lawn Club has six private alcoves which provide shade and a little privacy for passengers who don’t wish to be near the pool area. These plush cabanas aren’t free to use but the Alcoves Package is worth the spend. On the final port day, we booked one of the alcoves overlooking the lawn on the top deck. There was a movable awning so we could make the most of the view, cushy couches and lounge chairs, a table for holding the room service we ordered using the alcove’s phone, plus extras such as fresh fruits skewers, a bottle of Verve Rose and sparkling water. We were a bit concerned we might get bored sitting around in the cabana but having such a comfortable place to read, relax and chat was the perfect way to spend the day.
With plenty of extras like chaise lounges with oversized cushions on the pool deck, cloth hand towels in the public bathrooms and a glass-enclosed Solarium with ocean views, Celebrity Solstice feels far more upmarket than many first-time passengers are expecting. With a staff to passenger ratio of 1:2 and plenty of things to enjoy onboard, this ship offers passengers a luxurious cruise experience minus the high end price.
Disclosure: The writer travelled as a guest of Celebrity Cruises.