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Solstice LIVE: Alaska Honeymoon Cruise Aug 9th-16th 2019

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1 hour ago, CanuckCruizer said:

GenerationX - Thank you very much for all your reporting and the posting of the events/schedule - very much appreciated!  

Been to several Helipad events before and can't figure out why we have to wear flat, closed toe shoes?  All my shoes are open - will have to buy a special pair for the Helipad - haha - just thought it was strange as I have always worn open toed shoes there but on different cruise lines, not Celebrity.

Hope you have a great day,

 

Canuck

 

 Canuck I’m with you on this one.  I kind of get the flats requirement since there’s a few stairs and they don’t want anyone twisting an ankle, but the closed toe shoes is a complete mystery to me too.  I’m planning to wear my hiking boots.  Hopefully the officers won’t be too offended by my heavy clomping around the helipad.

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Well it was bound to happen.  This stateroom location under the fitness studio has come back to bite me. I’m desperate for a nap and I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of Zumba like class going on right above my head.  Dang it, I know I packed earplugs somewhere...

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1 hour ago, GenerationX said:

 

 Canuck I’m with you on this one.  I kind of get the flats requirement since there’s a few stairs and they don’t want anyone twisting an ankle, but the closed toe shoes is a complete mystery to me too.  I’m planning to wear my hiking boots.  Hopefully the officers won’t be too offended by my heavy clomping around the helipad.

Thanks for the great reporting!

I have "almost" convinced my hubby that I now need a new special pair of shoes to take for the Helipad....😁

In your travels around the ship, have you noticed any offerings of discounts to Speciality Dining packages?  Or even discounts for 1 night?  Others have reported that happening on different sailings, so just wondered.  We haven't booked any yet online.

Hope you have a wonderful afternoon.

 

Canuck

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My dear husband has decided to sleep away the sail to Juneau so, since I skipped my morning workout for the glacier watch, I decided to go swim some laps in the solarium then have a light lunch in the aqua spa cafe.  Photos of the grab and go options and made to order menu are below.

 

The chicken salad and fresh fruit were flavorful and not too filling. Something told me eating myself into a food coma just before hiking Mendenhall glacier would be a poor life choice.

 

Going to read by the pool for a few more minutes then head back to drag Jeremy out of bed to attend our helipad sail in. Then we’ll head to port for our whale watching tour and glacier hike!

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Happy Honeymoon Cruise!  I am so enjoying your live report...thank you for bringing back great memories from our Alaska cruise on the Solstice last July!  Have you gotten conditioned to flying to the balcony each time the officer blows the horn for a whale siting?  I still remember early one morning hearing the horn, and jumping out of bed to quickly get to the balcony, only to find that the horn was being blown with a regular cadence due to heavy fog.  If there were whales out there, we weren't going to see them.  Enjoy the rest of your week!!  

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Posted (edited)

imageproxy.php?img=&key=6ee4bfcebcfde1cbSince I want to keep this review PG-13, I won’t get into specifics of why Jeremy and I missed our Juneau helipad sail in, but point of the story, we accidentally missed our helipad sail in.  (We’re on our honeymoon don’t judge us!).

 

Moving on: it was a FANTASTIC day in Juneau.  We did the Whale Watching, Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Quest booked through Celebrity.  We were VERY lucky in whale watching and were within a few yards of both a pod of orcas and a pod of humpbacks at different times over the course of the hour sailing.  We also saw several sunning sea lions and nested eagles on the islands we passed on the way in and out.

 

The boat was fully equipped with bathrooms, air conditioning on the lower deck and a snack stand and bar that took credit cards. The crew included a naturalist and two marine biology students from University of Alaska who gave fantastic information about the ecology of the area, were happy to questions and helped with spotting wildlife.  I was so enthralled with the orcas I didn’t take pictures but Jeremy has some wonderful ones on his phone I’ll be sure to post.

 

After the whale watching our tour bus took us to Tongass National Park at the foot of the Mendenhall glacier for an hour for self guided hikes.  

 

There were several different trails available ranging from a mild to moderate (depending on which trail splits you take) 2.5 mile hike to a glacier waterfall, which we did in full, to a much more intense hike for experienced hikers in strong physical condition above the waterfall to near the lip of the glacier and waterfall, which we started and enjoyed but quickly realized we had nowhere near enough time to finish before our bus to port returned. On the waterfall hike we took a more “off the tourist” path but still went right around the glacier lake and discovered bear tracks near the water and a Tern nesting area!

 

 If you’re interested in hiking the park, it’s definitely worth pricing car rentals and/or  the different excursion options that include it (both cruise line and independent) because according to some hikers we met at the falls, a taxi from the cruise port to the park/trailhead  can run $35 per person each way.  Jeremy and I are very interested in coming back and just spending the day in Juneau doing the advanced hikes in the park (sidebar spoiler alert:  we’re already in love with Alaska and want to cruise here in summer as much as we can without nosediving our credit score) and will probably price all other options vs that kind of absurd cab cost for a likely 15 minute ride or less.

 

The waterfall hiking trail, while well cleared and for the most part decently gravel laid is a really good option for novice hikers.  However it is probably NOT a good option for mobility challenged folks due to grade, water and elevation elements. I was told there are great views of the glacier and waterfalls from inside at the paved, ramp accessible park visitor center though.

 

On the whole, my only critiques of the excursion were: 1) the heat on the bus (but I of course understand it probably doesn’t make much economic sense to put Hulk Smash AC on a bus in a town where it’s rarely hotter than 75 degrees) and 2) it would be great to have more time at the glacier park so that those who want to do more intense hiking trails have enough time for that option, especially considering Celebrity markets this tour as an active excursion.

 

We just finished a wonderful dinner in Blu and are currently enjoying a couple of after dinner cocktails at World Class Bar while listening to the Evergreen Duo.

 

Wifi on the ship is really slow tonight so I’ll upload more photos hopefully tomorrow in Skagway (because everyone REALLY needs to see this stuff!!! #lowkeynarcissim) and will catch up on Ketchikan and Blu dinners soon!

 

 

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Edited by GenerationX

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I was going to ask you to stop by the WCB in the name of research! The mixologist looks like he’s having a good time! He was not at the WCB in May! We’ll be on Solstice next month, can you ask if you stop by again how long this team will be behind the bar!

 

Sail in to Juneau is pretty but nothing spectacular! I’m sure you saw a lot more on your excursion!

 

Have a great day!

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Good morning from Skagway! I believe someone asked about a bag laundry special.  They just started to offer it last night.

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Still following this awesome review!

So glad you are seeing so much sealife and beauty all around!

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10 hours ago, lovecruzin said:

I was going to ask you to stop by the WCB in the name of research! The mixologist looks like he’s having a good time! He was not at the WCB in May! We’ll be on Solstice next month, can you ask if you stop by again how long this team will be behind the bar!

 

Sail in to Juneau is pretty but nothing spectacular! I’m sure you saw a lot more on your excursion!

 

Have a great day!

 

This is research I will CHEERFULLY do! In fact we’re sitting in WCB having an after dinner drink right now (see pics below)!

 

I must confess in all our celebrity cruises, I never discovered this bar till this sailing. We’re now addicted! Jeremy says the mojito here kicks the butt of every other mojito he’s ever had on a celebrity cruise.

 

I’ll ask Songpol and Sanja how long they’ll be here. They’ve both been fantastic!

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On 8/12/2019 at 6:20 PM, GACrusin said:

Happy Honeymoon Cruise!  I am so enjoying your live report...thank you for bringing back great memories from our Alaska cruise on the Solstice last July!  Have you gotten conditioned to flying to the balcony each time the officer blows the horn for a whale siting?  I still remember early one morning hearing the horn, and jumping out of bed to quickly get to the balcony, only to find that the horn was being blown with a regular cadence due to heavy fog.  If there were whales out there, we weren't going to see them.  Enjoy the rest of your week!!  

 

 

Thank you! Oh yes we’ve completely become Pavlov’s dog when the ships horn goes off. 😂

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11 hours ago, lovecruzin said:

I was going to ask you to stop by the WCB in the name of research! The mixologist looks like he’s having a good time! He was not at the WCB in May! We’ll be on Solstice next month, can you ask if you stop by again how long this team will be behind the bar!

 

Sail in to Juneau is pretty but nothing spectacular! I’m sure you saw a lot more on your excursion!

 

Have a great day!

 

Good news! I just confirmed that both Songpol and Sanja will still be on the ship next month.

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On 8/12/2019 at 12:07 PM, CanuckCruizer said:

Thanks for the great reporting!

I have "almost" convinced my hubby that I now need a new special pair of shoes to take for the Helipad....😁

In your travels around the ship, have you noticed any offerings of discounts to Speciality Dining packages?  Or even discounts for 1 night?  Others have reported that happening on different sailings, so just wondered.  We haven't booked any yet online.

Hope you have a wonderful afternoon.

 

Canuck

You’re very welcome Canuck!  I fully support your decision to purchase helipad shoes. 😁 So for the first few nights there weren’t many deals offered for specialty dining and it wasn’t heavily hawked either but the last couple of days I’ve seen more pitches going on. Discounts haven’t been big though, at most $5-$10 per person off for individual specialty reservations and I haven’t seen anything about discounts on packages.

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11 hours ago, GenerationX said:

 

Good news! I just confirmed that both Songpol and Sanja will still be on the ship next month.

 

Thank you very much!  Look forward to meeting them. 

Good news for you, its only Wednesday, you still have time to make it thru the entire WC menu!

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9 hours ago, GenerationX said:

You’re very welcome Canuck!  I fully support your decision to purchase helipad shoes. 😁 So for the first few nights there weren’t many deals offered for specialty dining and it wasn’t heavily hawked either but the last couple of days I’ve seen more pitches going on. Discounts haven’t been big though, at most $5-$10 per person off for individual specialty reservations and I haven’t seen anything about discounts on packages.

Hi GenerationX!  Thanks for your fantastic reporting!  Feels like we are on the ship with you.  Hope you have a great day today.

 

Canuck

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Posted (edited)

Good morning from our last sea day!  Well, actually it’s good afternoon to everyone else on the ship since it’s almost 1:15.  But Jeremy and I are just getting out of bed.

 

 We heard the whale horn go off a couple of times this morning but I’m ashamed to admit we couldn’t bring ourselves to get out of bed and walk 4 steps to the veranda. Ah honeymoon!

 

We’re in the buffet for a quick lunch then going to Brett Nixon’s presentation on killer whales.

 

After that Jeremy plans to spend some quality time in the casino and I’ll be relaxing in the solarium and doing some catch up posts!

 

Today’s schedule below.

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Edited by GenerationX

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Greetings from the solarium! While Jeremy gambles away all our wedding gift cash so he can level up in Blue Chip status, lemme sip this Chandon and report on dinners in Blu.

 

So far we’ve had two dinners in Blu and the food has been very good both times.  I was very happy to see 2 of my favorites again: the corn veloute and the short rib! The lobster salad was very good too but our server warned us it was very small so we’d probably want to order a second starter each to go with it...the man was not wrong.

 

On night 2, we arrived at around 7:45 (earlier than our usual dinner time, but we wanted to put some space between our consumption of mass quantities and dancing at the silent disco party).  It was absolute chaos.  There wasn’t a wait for a table, but hostess and manager were engaged in what looked like hardcore problem solving when we walked up to the host stand and we had to wait standing there for a few minutes before we got seated.  It looked like maybe they were understaffed and all the servers were rushing around.  

 

The restaurant was very full and very loud.  It felt like being in a mini version of the MDR. Not the relaxing Blu dining atmosphere we’re used to.  It took almost 15 minutes before our server made it over to us and the sommelier didn’t come to take our drink order until the appetizer came.  That being said, both our server and sommelier have been very friendly and gave wonderful food and wine recommendations.

 

On night 4 when we went back to Blu for dinner, we arrived a little before 8:30 and it was a COMPLETELY different scene.  Not crowded, quiet atmosphere, food and drink service very prompt.  

 

Moral of of the story: I recommend avoiding Blu during the peak 7-8pm dinner hour if you can in order to get the most out of the experience.

 

We’ve never really tried the Blu cocktail menu so Jeremy’s drinking his way through it on this trip...you know, for the sake of the review.  

 

On night 2 he had the Garden Breezes and on night 4 he had the Nightfall Elixir. He said the garden breezes was slightly sweet and refreshing and went down easy.  The Nightfall was more bitter and pretty strong so he nursed it in anticipation of our later antics at the martini bar.

 

I’m gonna pop out to the pool bar now for a bubbly refill. Sidebar: there hasn’t really been any drink service in the solarium this cruise like there was in the Caribbean on Equinox and Silhouette, which seems like a miss since it’s cool outside and there’s a lot more people using the solarium pool and hot tub. Standing wet and shivering in the brisk Pacific air at the pool bar waiting for drink service is kinda brutal, but I have my priorities and I stand by them.

 

More to come soon!

 

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Quick Update: my husband has given up on blackjack as an early retirement strategy (at least till after dinner) and has joined me by the pool.  He’s drinking a rum punch that’s so strong that I’m pretty sure if he has another he could probably swim to British Columbia.

 

Cheers friends!

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Hi GenerationX - Thanks for all the updates - good pics!  You have me craving a shortrib now!  Well, the video isn't working for me - it started - it was all black and then I heard sound - something like an excerpt from "When Harry Met Sally"....and then it stopped.  Maybe it is just me.....hahaha.

 

Canuck

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The video played but was only 2 seconds long - long enough to make me jealous, can't wait for our Alaska cruise next year!

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When we finally joined the world of the living this afternoon we had this invitation for a Blu kitchen tour on our door.  I don’t remember being offered this in prior aqua class sailings. I wonder if this as well as the aqua class only glacier viewing set up are part of an effort by Celebrity to add more amenity value to the premium charged for aqua class (at what’s probably a relatively low cost to the company).  I will say, it’s working for me. The price difference between aqua and concierge when we booked was a total of about $500 and I personally feel I’ve gotten that value in having Blu for a dining venue, the comfortable glacier viewing and a cabin location where I can access the solarium and aqua spa cafe in just a few steps and without having to go out in the Alaskan cold. Of course everyone’s cruise budget and spending priorities are different.

 

In much less thrilling mail news, last night when we got back to the room our luggage tags and disembark instructions were waiting for us. COME ON CELEBRITY! There’s still TWO WHOLE NIGHTS left in my sailing! I’m NOT ready for a “go home!” conversation yet! YOU'RE KILLIN ME SMALLS!!!!

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GenerationX - re the video - my hubby just told me that I can't play "MOV" files on my computer and that is why the video didn't work for me but it really did sound like that famous scene with Meg Ryan - that's all I heard...😮

Cannot believe that you only have 2 nights left!  Make the most of them!

Cheers,

Canuck

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Video played  on my  " old"  Samsung tablet...Awesome.

 Glad your honeymoon is going well. Making great memories-

 

It was also good to hear they are punching up AQ class events...like they have done with Concierge.  We may return to AQ eventually...

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