Being heralded as “Australia’s Best Cruise Ship” by the Berlitz Guide, a globally recognised authority on cruising, is a bold claim, but one which the majority of its customers say is something Celebrity Solstice smashes out with relative ease. One key driver of this is one of the widest selections of entertainment offered by any Australian based ship.
No less than a dozen venues across the 2,850-passenger ship offer a wide selection of stage shows, live music and activities, with the vessel featuring many not only Australian firsts, but also world firsts.
Attracting a slightly older passenger base (averaging around 50-70), the backbone of Celebrity Solstice‘s entertainment program is for sophisticated fun as opposed to the rolling and more youth oriented party atmosphere seen on other ships locally, such as Carnival Spirit or Voyager of the Seas. Her almost imposing size provides a plethora of venues around the ship from which to choose for both evening and daytime activities.
One unique element situated on the top deck of Celebrity Solstice is its Lawn Club at Sea, a unique space where guests can partake in a picnic in the middle of the ocean or catch a ‘Jazz in the Park’ show, complete with canapés and wine at sunset. If you wish to head up there for the day, there will be instructions on how to obtain a picnic basket full of goodies such as sandwiches and salads to enjoy on the lawn, while you lay in the sun.
Next door to the Lawn Club sees the “Hot Glass Show” entertain guests with showcases of the skills of master glassblowers from the Corning Museum of Glass.
Sky Observation Lounge
Still on the top deck but moving forward, the Sky Observation Lounge features large wrap-around windows providing 270-degree views of the ocean and proves to be a comfortable venue to play host to game shows, trivia and dance lessons during the day, while fun themed parties take over the space with live music at night. The multi-purpose space offers plenty of seating for guests to use as a quiet retreat outside of these activity hours.
Located on the lower decks of the vessel, the expansive “Solstice Theatre” blends traditional Las Vegas style singing and dancing with European trained acrobats, creating some of the most awe inspiring shows at sea. Our special Cruise Advice tip is to sit on the bottom level to really appreciate the acrobatics taking place literally over your head.
Moving aft from the “Solstice Theatre” passengers will enter “Entertainment Court” a two story mini atrium and the heart of two main entertainment spaces aboard Celebrity Solstice – the first being “Celebrity Central” a lecture space come movie theatre, which can open up & provide seating to guests when pop up shows take over the “Entertainment Court” space.
Directly opposite “Celebrity Central”, “Quasar” nightclub provides late night revellers a funky space themed nightclub to dance away the night until the wee hours. It’s a psychedelic sort of venue, with a light and colour scheme that may better reflect a futuristic spaceship, a feeling only complemented by the DJ booth, which looks like an orb from another planet.
Celebrity Solstice also features one of the largest casinos afloat, the venue taking up a large portion of the lower middle of the ship. It features all the traditional games one comes to expect from an ocean-going casino such as Blackjack, Craps and Poker, as well as an assortment of poker machines.
If you are looking for something a little more on the quiet side each evening, check out Cellar Masters where the soft music and lighting provides a relaxing way to have some post dinner drinks. With a comprehensive wine list, it’s a pleasure to sit through a leisurely night at sea without any noisy distractions from elsewhere on the ship.
In the corner of the room, guests will find the Enomatic wine-by-the-glass dispensing system which allows guests to enjoy a glass of some rare and unique wines, poured automatically and charged to your onboard account. At many times of the day, sommelier will be on hand to guide you through the highlights of each bottle available from this system, provide tips and recommendations on which wine you might like from those available.
If the post-dinner show left you in the mood for some more live music, the Ensemble Lounge features a nightly rotation of singers and bands to provide a relaxed atmosphere to this space. During the day, the space hosts craft, cards and other more subdued activities.
A unique feature of Celebrity Solstice amongst new builds is also her large, extensive and dedicated library. The space sits perched above the atrium, and provides light and airy spaces to sit, read and collect your thoughts, with one of the largest selections of titles afloat. Even though the space benefits from plenty of natural light flooding in from the windows above, the artificial purple and yellow lighting still makes for somewhat of a cocoon to sit and enjoy your book.
X Club (Teen Club)
There’s a wide selection of activities on offer for teens travelling on Celebrity Cruises, many taking place in the dedicated X Club, next door to the Kids Club but in its own private area and adjacent to a video arcade. Video game consoles and the latest titles are in stock for teens to play, with evening dance parties held as well to burn off any late night energy.
Perhaps the most fun activity on the schedule for teens is the is the new ‘iTake’ video project aimed at budding movie directors. Available free of charge to those within the age range, the activity is available on both sea days and port days and starts with teens preparing their own storyboard and shot schedule, before being fitted with a GoPro Hero 3 HD camera to go out and shoot their film. During port days, it’s even possible to get some underwater footage.
Teens can feature their new friends in the film and once all the footage has been gathered, they’ll learn some video editing skills in the Celebrity iLounge and be given the chance to add as many special effects and cool overlays as they like, before taking the finished film home. The complimentary program culminates in an X Club Film Festival with awards given to teens in a bunch of categories.
The regular children’s program for those aged 3-11 sees activities scheduled from 9am to 11pm on sea days. It’s also open while the ship is in port, however hours are dependant on sailing times. Activities include treasure hunts, face painting, arts and crafts and electronic games like X-Box.
Dependant on your child’s age, he or she will be allocated to an age appropriate program, with children required to be fully toilet trained prior to entering the club. Adults will also be required to sign younger children in and out of the program. There is also a Toddler Time program for those aged below 3, however parents need to remain with them at all times as they don’t need to be toilet-trained to take part in this program. There are change rooms in close proximity to the toddler play area.
Special Program: Autism at Sea
Celebrity Cruises was the first cruise line to receive “Autism Friendly” certification from the Autism at Sea Council. The award recognised Celebrity’s attempts to accommodate guests with Autism and their families, with staff across all of the onboard programs trained to deal with Autistic guests and their special requests.