I have returned from a Celebrity Cruise Line 12 Night New Zealand cruise aboard The Celebrity Solstice. We began our cruise in Auckland, New Zealand and ended in Sydney, Australia, where we spent 3 more nights exploring this vibrant and young city.
We booked a Deluxe Ocean View Veranda on Deck 6 (tenders were partially in the way of our view) and immediately went to the pursers desk to see if we could be upgraded. Luck was on our side, and the next evening, Celebrity upgraded us to a Concierge Balcony on the 12th deck. Nice touches come with Concierge. Plush robes, binoculars, fresh flowers, evening appetizers delivered to our cabin and more. The ships style is elegant and calming. Many things to do on the ship if you so choose. We enjoyed the glass blowing presentations by Corning Museum of Glass, where they made several vases and bowls. Sometimes the glass blew up, but most of the time they completed them. Celebrity Cruise Line auctioned some of the vases off. All proceeds went towards The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We found luck again in the casino. Black Jack and slots were our vices. Fun dealers who like to talk with you and share information about their cruise experiences. The entertainment ranged from comedians to violinist to a Cirque Du Soleil performance. Our Cruise Director was a friend and co worker of Steve Irwin’s, so he gave a presentation of who and what Steve Irwin did within and outside the zoo. A moving experience. Celebrity Cruise brought on speakers to talk about where we were going and the history of the lands. Tasmania was a port of call not to be missed. The history alone is well worth another trip, but the land is beautiful.
Dining on board was very good. Though I do not like the buffet all the time, it had it’s moments. Hot Dogs and french fries were fresh and tasty. The buffet did change up often but it was The Bistro On Five that was by far my favorite restaurant for lunch. There was an additional cost of 5.00 but the crepes were savory and the dessert crepes were sweet and delicious. They also served panini’s, soups and salads, of which all were excellent. Murano, a take on french cuisine, is exquisite fine dining with stellar service. We started with lobster bisque and soon we experienced a table side lobster presentation with flames. 30.00pp surcharge. Murano also offers Five Senses, which is a 5 course gastronomic and vineyard tour. There were 2 other restaurants(each with a surcharge) to choose from. The Main Restaurant was where we often dined. It was always changing and each day we would look at the menu and decide if the Main Restaurant had what we were looking for. Dining on our balcony was best when we went through the Fjords of New Zealand. It was windy and cold, so we put our fluffy robes on and enjoyed the day of cruising through the fjords.
We booked many excursions with Celebrity Cruise Line prior to leaving for this trip. Each day was easy to navigate. We met in the theatre and waited to get our colored numbers. 1 person per group stayed in line while everyone else took a seat and waited to be called. Easy on and off each tender. Groups were small enough so you could ask questions and get a good detailed response. Most excursions required driving a little ways(not hours) and the guides were knowledgeable and funny. Plenty of time to explore on your own while on the tour or afterwards. Bathroom stops were plentiful. I highly recommend the Otago Penguin Reserve while you are visiting Dunedin. They are in their own natural habitat and free to go anywhere(ocean included). Hobart, Tasmania is a place I did not think I would enjoy, but was I wrong. Besides the Tasmanian Devil that I had to see, it’s rich in culture and history. Ending in Sydney, Australia and staying 3 additional nights was wonderful, but a tease. We will need to go back. It is a fun city filled with very young people who enjoy life. Many parks, restaurants, shopping, museums, animal reserves and more are available within Sydney. It is a busy city, so bring good walking shoes.
If you are interested in more information, please give me a call so we can talk. 925-238-0001 Tammy Larsen