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

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After a busy afternoon of reading and drinking in the hot tubs, we’re getting dressed for our second evening chic night. Our buffet lunch today was just ok so we only picked at it and we’re eating a little late tonight, so we stopped by OVC on our way down to the room to make our own evening canapés.  The canapés that are included with aqua class are now only delivered if you fill out a form (see below) and make sure someone is in the cabin to receive them. Far too much hassle for us!

 

Besides, our chicken nacho bar, beef satay and shrimp ceviche that we found in the buffet were far better than any of the snacks we ever had delivered, with the exception of when we've sailed suite class and asked our butler to bring smoked salmon and cheese every afternoon.

 

Pics of Mr. and Mrs. Stevens dressed in style to come!

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We started our fancy dress night with a cocktail made by our new best friend mixologist Sonja in the World Class Bar while listening to the strings duo then went to dinner in Blu.

 

We got there a little after 8 and the restaurant was still pretty busy, but service was prompt and attentive.

 

We had the same waiter (Eudel) and sommelier (Nik) we had on the first night and both remembered us and provided great suggestions for food and wine again.

 

The tomato soup I had was so good but could have used twice as many of the tasty Asiago cheese croutons in it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I stole like half of my husband’s crab cake.  The lobster and veal were also both great. On Eudel’s recommendation we also split the angus beef stuffed shells.  My Italian husband who is a red sauce ubersnob ate 2 of these.

 

For dessert we both had the baked Alaska.  Jeremy loved it but I thought it was just ok.

 

Jeremy had a score to settle with a slot machine so I posted up in the martini bar having an espresso martini and listening to the house band. 

 

After Jeremy returned we were joined by our new friends from Columbia for the second round.

 

Soon we’ll head up to the sky lounge for the 70’s dance party!  Cheers from a beautiful night on Solstice!

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Good morning CC!

 

We started our (late) morning today having a blueberry Red Bull and vodka at the mast bar while the two friends who betrayed jeremy last night (Seniors Patron y Don Julio) looked on.  

 

We just finished a mast grill lunch while the whale horn went off almost nonstop.  In the past hour we’ve seen 2 large humpback pods and a pod of 5 or 6 orcas.

 

We port in Victoria, B.C. today but interestingly we don’t arrive until after 5, so today is like a half sea day half port day.

 

We’re on our way down to al Bacio now to have some coffee and dessert from the evil pastry case.

 

Today’s schedule below.

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Wow.. you  certainly did Chic night proudly.....Looking good and happy.  That's what it's all about! 

 

We had a daytime stop in Victoria on our cruise, but the city should be  nice and sparkly at night!

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Posted (edited)

Good afternoon from the pool deck! After a cool and cloudy morning the sun is out and the party around the pool is in full swing.  Celebrity  Life is doing several outdoor activities, including a poolside line dancing class. In spite of the busy deck, there are literally no drink servers that I can see.

 

There are quite a few people in the outdoor pool, which is heated, but it’s still a little cool for my taste.

 

I think I’ll stick to doing my swimming in the solarium and maybe a little hot tub outside.

 

This afternoon Jeremy and I had coffee in al Bacio for a double set of music by Evergreen Duo in the lobby. These two have been our favorite entertainment onboard this cruise.

 

After coffee we did a little souvenir shopping. We had to get our Solstice ornament for the Christmas tree (only 5 ships to go, and we’ll have sailed on/collected the entire Celebrity fleet! At least until Apex rolls out and puts us another ship behind).  Then I went to passport bar for a glass of Pinot noir while Jeremy made one last go of the casino.

 

We’ve decided to go hobbit-style for this last day of the cruise so we had a second lunch at the buffet extravaganza.  Premium offerings included steak, lamb and ultra fresh salmon and halibut being sliced by the chefs and cooked right in front of you.  I was sad to discover the lamb was over cooked and dry in most places but the salmon was great.  I’ve noticed it’s been a running theme in the buffet this week that with the exception of the ham at breakfast, all the carvery meats have been a little over cooked.

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Edited by GenerationX

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So enjoyed reading your trip report!  We will be sailing next August at exactly this same week!  Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to!  Thank you so much or taking the time to post this, and your pictures are fabulous!

 

Congratulations on your honeymoon!  We will celebrate our 40th Anniversary on the Solstice next August!

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Posted (edited)

The Taking a step back in time to report on our fantastic day in Skagway.  In this port we booked 2 tours with Celebrity: the white pass train ride in the morning then the Ben Fogle Great Adventures Chilkoot trail hike and rafting adventure.

 

Our weather luck continued and it was completely clear and fog less for our train ride so we got great views of the Sawtooth Mountains, U.S.-Canada boarder, glaciers and the famous bridal veil falls.

 

After the train, we grabbed a quick lunch of salmon dip and fish and chips at the Skagway Fish Co. restaurant near the ship. We washed lunch down with a local beer that’s actually brewed with Sitka Spruce tree bark and has a surprisingly delicious pine flavor. According to our guide, native Alaskans drank a similar brew as their version of a multi vitamin.  

 

After lunch, we headed out for what may have been the best shore excursion ever.

 

For the hike and rafting trip, there were only 2 other younger couples: one from Solstice and one from Niew Amsterdam which was also in port that day, so it felt very intimate.  Both other couples were also experienced hikers (in fact, the husband of the Niew Amsterdam couple had spent a month hiking in Nepal) which becomes important later.  Our guide, Stu was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

 

The Chilkoot trail hike we did was the first 3.5 miles of the exact same 33 mile trail that the prospectors hiked into the Yukon during the gold rush.  The views in the forest along the trail were spectacular!  

 

At this point I will stop and say that if you’ve never set foot on a hiking trail in your life, have any mobility issues whatsoever, or are not in decent aerobic/physical condition, this is NOT the excursion for you.  This hike starts immediately with a steep climb in elevation and the first 1.5 miles is uphill, unpaved and rugged.  There were multiple places where our guide had to instruct us on precisely where to put our feet and hands to safely navigate the terrain.  Most of the trail is along a steep wooded rock face, so if you step wrong, it’s not a short tumble down and at best you’re going to the hospital for a few days. The trail is narrow, so the guide and other hikers can only give minimal if any assistance if you’re having trouble getting through a section on your own.

 

For reference, the picture of Jeremy and I on the trail below is taken in the mildest sections of what we hiked.

 

In fact, I don’t have many pictures from this hike because I really needed to focus on the trail and where I was stepping.

 

That being said, for the able bodied and slightly adventurous, this was the best hike I’ve ever been on and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Our guide made sure to keep us on a pace that was comfortable for everyone and we made frequent stops to take in scenery and catch our breath.  You REALLY feel the Alaskan wilderness on this hike in a way we didn’t in Juneau or Ketchikan.

 

At the end of our hike, we boarded a raft and floated back down towards town on the glacier fed Taiya river.  At one bend in the river a bald eagle hunting on the bank took off and flew right over us to perch on his nest in the trees!!!

 

At the end of the float a small riverside snack was set up for us with chips and cookies from a local bakery as well as hot chocolate and tea to warm us up after being splashed with the glacier water.

 

We got back to the ship with 15 minutes to spare before all aboard and it was the first time I really missed being in a suite.  After that strenuous hike I really could have used a soak in a sky suite bath tub while the butler brought us champagne and canapés. 

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Edited by GenerationX

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Looks and sounds like you two have had a blast. Thanks for taking us along! And may I wish you many happy years of marriage. We just celebrated 36 years and trust me, there is nothing more wonderful than having a loving partner by your side. 😊💖

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2 hours ago, firstcruiserDB said:

So enjoyed reading your trip report!  We will be sailing next August at exactly this same week!  Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to!  Thank you so much or taking the time to post this, and your pictures are fabulous!

 

Congratulations on your honeymoon!  We will celebrate our 40th Anniversary on the Solstice next August!

Congratulations on your upcoming 40th. We'll also be on the Solstice next August but not until the 28th.  This has been such a great read that I"m more than ready to go now!

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On 8/14/2019 at 12:26 AM, GenerationX said:

 

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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WCB is one of our favorites -glad you’re enjoying it!!!

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On 8/14/2019 at 12:26 AM, GenerationX said:

 

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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19 hours ago, GenerationX said:

We started our fancy dress night with a cocktail made by our new best friend mixologist Sonja in the World Class Bar while listening to the strings duo then went to dinner in Blu.

 

We got there a little after 8 and the restaurant was still pretty busy, but service was prompt and attentive.

 

We had the same waiter (Eudel) and sommelier (Nik) we had on the first night and both remembered us and provided great suggestions for food and wine again.

 

The tomato soup I had was so good but could have used twice as many of the tasty Asiago cheese croutons in it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I stole like half of my husband’s crab cake.  The lobster and veal were also both great. On Eudel’s recommendation we also split the angus beef stuffed shells.  My Italian husband who is a red sauce ubersnob ate 2 of these.

 

For dessert we both had the baked Alaska.  Jeremy loved it but I thought it was just ok.

 

Jeremy had a score to settle with a slot machine so I posted up in the martini bar having an espresso martini and listening to the house band. 

 

After Jeremy returned we were joined by our new friends from Columbia for the second round.

 

Soon we’ll head up to the sky lounge for the 70’s dance party!  Cheers from a beautiful night on Solstice!

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Now that’s a dress girl!! Wowza!

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I ask you: is there any sight sadder than suitcases with disembarkation tags on them sitting in a cruise ship hallway?

 

Jeremy and I keep saying one of these years we should save enough money and vacation time to do a back to back. That way on this night at the end of leg one, we can walk the hallways and say to ourselves “not us, not today”.  We’re gonna call it our “sucks for you” cruise. 😁

 

Jeremy is in port buying a few souvenirs and I’m headed down to get some cash from the ATM for extra tips for our favorite crew members, then we’re meeting for one last dinner in Blu then we will drown our disembarkation sorrows in a LOT of martinis.

 

I’m happy to report though that this is NOT the end of my review as I still have a few catch up posts to do and we’ll be spending another night exploring in Seattle tomorrow.

 

Good evening from a slightly forlorn GenerationX who is getting kicked off the Solstice tomorrow.  😭😭😭

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GenerationX - So sad to hear it is your last night.  Thanks for keeping us all entertained & providing us with all the information.😀

Safe travels,

 

Canuck

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53 minutes ago, Langley Cruisers said:

Looks and sounds like you two have had a blast. Thanks for taking us along! And may I wish you many happy years of marriage. We just celebrated 36 years and trust me, there is nothing more wonderful than having a loving partner by your side. 😊💖

Thank you!!! Congratulations on your anniversary!  We’ve said several times on this cruise how lucky we both are to have found a partner to share our life and travel adventures with. 💕

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I'm loving this review so much.  We're on the Solstice in three weeks for our 17th anniversary, and your review has got me so excited. Thank you for taking the time to do it. 

Also, I'm a Gen Xer too. 🙂

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I am so sad for you (and for us) that your cruise is ending! I am happy that you aren't done yet! Thanks for taking us along, makes me even more excited to board one of our favorite ships in a month. 

All the best to you and Jeremy and wishing you may years of happiness.

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Thoroughly enjoyed your review, felt like we were on board with you.  We've never done an Alaska Cruise before, and it's now higher up our list than before.  Did you have any problem with midges or mosquitos when you were ashore?  

 

We're fortunate enough to be doing our first B2B in January next year in Australia and NZ.  Never thought about it before, but will feel smug on the end of the first cruise that we don't have to get off!  Switching from one Suite to another though, but I understand this is handled pretty well.  

 

Have a safe journey home - you have created some wonderful memories for your honeymoon.

 

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So sad your review is almost done, it feels like a blink of the eye and your cruise was over. Enjoyed everything, including all the pictures.  I know its a lot of work to do a live review, (I have done a couple). I grew up in Seattle it's a lovely town. Safe travel home.

Norma

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I will join everyone else in wishing you and Jeremy congratulations and many more happy years and cruises together!!  We did Solstice to Alaska a few years ago and enjoyed it much more than we ever thought we would, so much so that we expect to go again in the future!  Your fantastic review is making me think we need to bump that one up the list!  Great job!

 

Noticed Danny Smart was one of the entertainers on your cruise.  We enjoyed his music on the Reflection back in January...did you get a chance to hear him?  He played lots of great artists in the Celebrity Central little theatre beside the main theatre and we were like groupies following him from venue to venue lol!

 

Glad you've been having a great time and seeing so much wildlife.  Def do a b2b someday, great to sit in Al Bacio with a coffee and snack and watch everyone leaving and new passengers arriving while you're already unpacked and familiar with the ship and crew!

Cathy

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Great review! Thank you for taking the time to do it. Congratulations!

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Hi GenerationX - Hope you got off the ship ok and are enjoying Seattle.

Just wondered if you had the missing days "Celebrity Today" - I think you only posted Days 2, 3, 5 and 7.  Thought you might have saved them and could post once you get settled at home, if possible.  We love all the live music and it seems like the ship offers the most we have ever seen, compared to other cruises.  We are trying to figure out how/when to have dinner so we don't miss anything! My hubby is trying to make a spreadsheet of the live entertainment to follow (yes, he is forensic...ha).  If you don't have them, not to worry - again, thank you for taking the time out of your vacation/honeymoon to report to all of us here at Cruise Critic.

 

Safe travels to you & hubby,

 

Canuck

 

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Just 7 days until we board the Solstice.  GenX's posts have been so wonderful, we are even more excited about our upcoming cruise than ever!  I hope the weather gods shine down on us as they did GenX.  Now I know that when the ship's horn blows, it's not just for leaving a port, but thar's whales out there to awe at.  🙂 

 

Thanks for sharing your honeymoon and Alaska with us.  Can't wait to hear about Seattle as well.  We're spending two days there post cruise too!  Not only do you have to do a B2B, but you must experience a Transatlantic or a full Panama Canal crossing.  Both worth saving vacation days for.

 

Many happy years of cruising and love!  Congrats again!

 

Michele

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SIGH...good morning from Seattle.

 

I suppose it was inevitable given our lack of family wealth and/or extreme gambling luck that we were going to have to get off the ship this morning.

 

As is our tradition, Jeremy and I saved our free bottle of cheep champagne for the last morning and drank it as we did our final packing.  When we stepped on the balcony this morning we remembered what city air smells/feels like.

 

Captain Alex did a wonderful farewell morning announcement that had me with tears in my eyes.  

 

Our luggage tag number was called while we were eating our last breakfast in Blu and after one last round of hugs and thank you’s with the crew, we ripped the bandaid off and stepped out into the cruel cruel beverage package-less world.

 

Captain Alex was on the gangway as we left thanking each passenger and wishing them safe travels.

 

When he saw us he said “Oh my beautiful honeymooners! Thank you for sharing the start of your marriage with me! Enjoy every second of your life together because love is such a gift and come sail with me again soon!”

 

Needless to say we’re now Captain Alex groupies!

 

We just checked into our hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.  It was about a $20 cab ride with tip from the pier.

 

Jeremy and I and two other couples were the last people out of the martini bar last night (more on that later), so I’ve never been happier to hear my early check in request was granted.  If not, my backup plan was to crash on a couch in the hotel lobby for a few hours.

 

The front desk staff were very friendly and gave us a downtown map and circled all the points of interest and transportation options to get there.  We’re about a 6 block walk to Pike Place and a short tram ride to the space needle.

 

Our hotel room is huge and has a nice partial water view.  The bathroom is bigger than our whole stateroom on the ship.  After a morning nap I think I may send jeremy down to get me tea from the Starbucks in the lobby and spend an hour reading while soaking in the tub before we head out to explore!

 

Tonight we have dinner reservations in a restaurant at Pike Place and then we may be meeting up with some of our new cruise friends who are also staying the night in town for live music, drinks and lamentations that no one has said “how are you Madam? Is there anything I can do for you?” to us for several hours.

 

Still to come: reports on Ketchikan shore excursion, dinner in Tuscan Grille on sail away from Skagway, late nights on Solstice and general thoughts on our cruise.

 

 

 

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Thank you - really enjoyed reading this! Alaska has been our favorite cruise so far. We treated it as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but I’m feeling like that might not actually be the case and we’ll be back some time.

 

I appreciate your attitude, which seems to be you’re going to have a good time and enjoy things no matter what happens. Maybe we’ll be lucky and wind up traveling with you one day. Congrats on the wedding, and enjoy your future together!

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