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Live: Jan 2 2018 Solstice Great Barrier Reef

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Great idea on the MarineTraffic site. It appears the tenders from the Solstice are going to the Port Of Airlie.

 

Have fun!

 

 

 

Yes, that's what I see as well. Funny how the information I received was incorrect. Solstice is getting ready to leave Airlie Beach....

 

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Who are you doing the wine tour in Newcastle with?

 

You are going to hate Yorkey's Knob especially if the wind and sea conditions pick up and the tenders are cancelled as is often the case

 

a couple on our cruise organised a private winery tour for 8? people / couples - one couple pulled out (had to cancel the whole cruise) so the tour organiser asked on the cruise critic roll call forum if there were any others interested and my wife & I jumped at the chance

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I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef in early December a few years ago. It was box jellyfish season so we had to dress in a head to toe neoprene suit with hood, gloves, and boots.

 

The tender from Yorkie's Knob to the ship was extremely rough and a couple of folks got seasick. One yelled for the first mate to open the front deck window. He did. I was sitting in the first row in back of the window. A huge wave crashed through the open window. I got soaked! The crew apologized but I was just laughing too hard to care.

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I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef in early December a few years ago. It was box jellyfish season so we had to dress in a head to toe neoprene suit with hood, gloves, and boots.

 

The tender from Yorkie's Knob to the ship was extremely rough and a couple of folks got seasick. One yelled for the first mate to open the front deck window. He did. I was sitting in the first row in back of the window. A huge wave crashed through the open window. I got soaked! The crew apologized but I was just laughing too hard to care.

 

There is a video on You Tube of a trip from shore back to the Solstice during our visit to Esperance a few years ago. It is a really rough tender experience that trip.

I must admit to a sense of humour when newbies on a rough trip want to sit right next to the open hatchways unaware how much water these tenders can ship inside. They only seem to do it once.

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Thank you for doing the live blog. It is super helpful. Can you please advise why the shops and casino have been closed on sea days? Also, what prices have been offered onboard for the specialty restaurants? Specifically Tuscan Grille and Silk Harvest? Enjoy the rest of your trip 😊

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Here is important information that we received concerning the limited casino and ship hours and the tendering at Yorkey's Knob (Cairns):

 

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The bulletin says that the casino and ship hours of operation are limited because we will be sailing within 12 miles of Australia which means we will be in Australian territory. It is somewhat vague on exactly how restricted the hours will be. But I have some info on that for the next posting.

 

The bulletin also says that for Day 2 at Cairns, the ship is going to make an effort to get passengers who need to be ashore early in the morning for their independent tours an opportunity to do that. During the last GBR cruise in Mar 2017, I read that if you had an early morning tour set up for the second day at Cairns, you couldn't be there in time because you had to wait after the passengers who bought their shore excursion from the ship. Having priority tender status because of your Capt Club status want enough to get you there in time either. Consequently, we are staying in a hotel during the night that Solstice overnights in Cairns to ensure that we check in on time for a private scuba diving tour. But now Celebrity is trying to help by providing people like us a means to get off the ship early even though we did not buy a shore ex through them. That's nice.

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Here are the operating hours for the Tiffany jewelry store on board Solstice which will give you a better idea of the limited hours the shops on board will be open. It also gives you an idea of when the casino will be open. "Showcase" means the store will be open for display but you cannot buy anything. I'm sure the ship is losing a lot of revenue over this.

 

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Thank you for doing the live blog. It is super helpful. Can you please advise why the shops and casino have been closed on sea days? Also, what prices have been offered onboard for the specialty restaurants? Specifically Tuscan Grille and Silk Harvest? Enjoy the rest of your trip

 

 

 

I will look into the specialty restaurant prices for you. For now, i have this story to share

 

My family and I (4 people) had dinner last night, Jan 7, at the Silk Harvest. We had never eaten there before. I made and paid for these reservation online thru Celebrity five days before the start of the cruise. It was $35/person.

 

When we got there at our appointed time last night, the maitre'd told us that we did not have reservations for Jan 7. Their computer showed it for Jan 8. Furthermore there was a "special event" going on that evening (Jan 7) at the Silk Harvest which involved live music and a very special menu all for $45/person.

 

I showed the maitre'd my email confirmation (pictured below). I insisted that my email reservation be honored. His first response was that he could do that but I would be charged the difference in the cost which would be $10/person. I responded by saying that this mix up was not my fault and that it was not fair to be charged more. He said he would have to talk to someone and attempted to make a phone call. After not getting through, he hung up the phone and decided to honor my reservation without charging me more.

 

After our dinner was concluded I sought out the maitre'd to thank him. He apologized for the problem and we shook hands.

 

I never did understand how the mix up happened. In the past we have received in our stateroom restaurant reservation reminders a couple days in advance, but we never received anything this time.

 

7ef489497f69877fd929443d51a4c2f0.jpg

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Silk Harvest was ok. It was worth trying but I'm not sure we'd go back. Of course, we were eating from a special menu (pictured below) and so I don't know if we would have felt differently with the normal menu.

 

Aboard Solstice, Silk Harvest occupies the space that is devoted to Q-sine on Eclipse. We liked Q-sine better.

 

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Usually you can get a better deal onboard for Silk Harvest (and all the specialties). I've gotten it for $25pp every time I've tried. They normally have a booth outside the buffet that you can stop at and haggle for the price. Make sure you get a written conformation of the price! For the $25 price I am ok with it, I just don't think it's worth much more than that. It's good Asian food but not great Asian.

 

Post some pics, we are also on the March 30th sailing.

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I will look into the specialty restaurant prices for you. For now, i have this story to share

 

My family and I (4 people) had dinner last night, Jan 7, at the Silk Harvest. We had never eaten there before. I made and paid for these reservation online thru Celebrity five days before the start of the cruise. It was $35/person.

 

When we got there at our appointed time last night, the maitre'd told us that we did not have reservations for Jan 7. Their computer showed it for Jan 8. Furthermore there was a "special event" going on that evening (Jan 7) at the Silk Harvest which involved live music and a very special menu all for $45/person.

 

I showed the maitre'd my email confirmation (pictured below). I insisted that my email reservation be honored. His first response was that he could do that but I would be charged the difference in the cost which would be $10/person. I responded by saying that this mix up was not my fault and that it was not fair to be charged more. He said he would have to talk to someone and attempted to make a phone call. After not getting through, he hung up the phone and decided to honor my reservation without charging me more.

 

After our dinner was concluded I sought out the maitre'd to thank him. He apologized for the problem and we shook hands.

 

I never did understand how the mix up happened. In the past we have received in our stateroom restaurant reservation reminders a couple days in advance, but we never received anything this time.

 

7ef489497f69877fd929443d51a4c2f0.jpg

 

That is exactly the response I would have expected from the Maitre'D

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The bulletin also says that for Day 2 at Cairns, the ship is going to make an effort to get passengers who need to be ashore early in the morning for their independent tours an opportunity to do that. During the last GBR cruise in Mar 2017, I read that if you had an early morning tour set up for the second day at Cairns, you couldn't be there in time because you had to wait after the passengers who bought their shore excursion from the ship. Having priority tender status because of your Capt Club status want enough to get you there in time either. Consequently, we are staying in a hotel during the night that Solstice overnights in Cairns to ensure that we check in on time for a private scuba diving tour. But now Celebrity is trying to help by providing people like us a means to get off the ship early even though we did not buy a shore ex through them. That's nice.

 

Hi all

 

We were on this same cruise in March 17, on Solstice. We had the same problem as the OP--a group of us had a private tour that was set to start at 8:30, with a request to all be assembled at 8:15. X added some early tenders for pax that needed it but, you had to go to the front desk and give them your names and cabin numbers (I was the tour organizer, so I did it for all of us). We were also advised we had to be there before 6:30 am since this was an additional tender run and they wanted to be back in time to start the normal tender service.

 

The next morning, we all dragged ourselves to the meeting area near the Champagne Bar (I might have this wrong). There was a huge group of people already waiting when we got there at 6:15. We were all lined up and as you entered the roped area, to walk downstairs to the tender, they asked for names and cabin numbers. If you weren't on the list, you weren't allowed to board.

 

About half our group were elites and they elected to use the 7 am shuttle. That worked out fine, especially since our guide was late. (There was a huge traffic jam of buses, cabs, vans trying to get into the pier area and pick all of us up :D).

 

YMMV, but that was what happened to us. BTW, tendering on and off Solstice was miserable for us in a few places, including Cairns. We were told it is always like that and one time we sat about 50 feet from the ship for more than a hour before we could get back on board. Not sure why this is such a problem, I hope it doesn't happen this year.

 

Good luck, this is an excellent itinerary on a beautiful ship.

 

ML

Edited by NoWhiners
typos

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Hi. My family and I are currently aboard Celebrity Solstice doing a 12 night Great Barrier Reef itinerary out of Sydney. The ship returns to Sydney on Sun Jan 14.

 

If anyone has questions for me, just ask--esp from those of you that are planning on doing this infrequent itinerary in the future.

 

So far the cruise is going well.

 

David

 

 

 

Lots of great information! Thank you. Could you please tell us who is the Captain and Cruise Director? Do you know whether they are scheduled to switch soon? If it is still Captain Tasos who I hear is excellent as well as entertaining , I am hoping he will still be there on the Feb 17 th sailing. !

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Not sure if you would like a cocktail or not but if you do stop by the Martini Bar and ask for Abibi. Will make pretty much every drink. Just tell him Ms Norma sent you and he will take great care of you.

Norma

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Glad to see Nigel Smyth, the Staff Captain, will be on board, hopefully, when we embark on 17 February. He is wonderful, personable, and my wife says, her favorite Irishman after than Rory McIlroy. ;) We've sailed with him on Summit out of Bayonne on a few occasions. He's a great guy.

 

Can you check to see if he will be on board in February/March?

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I understand from a previous post on this thread that December is box jellyfish season and a special suit is required. Is there a jellyfish issue in the GBR in any part of the January-March period? If so do the independent companies usually provide suits for that?

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I understand from a previous post on this thread that December is box jellyfish season and a special suit is required. Is there a jellyfish issue in the GBR in any part of the January-March period? If so do the independent companies usually provide suits for that?

Yes, in the Cairns area the season is December through early May. Companies do provide stinger suits.

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Wine-O, I will look into it.

 

sandbag, yes it is jellyfish season although we have hardly seen any. We've done 2 excursions involving snorkeling so far. Both times we were issued "stinger suits" for no extra charge.

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Not sure if you would like a cocktail or not but if you do stop by the Martini Bar and ask for Abibi. Will make pretty much every drink. Just tell him Ms Norma sent you and he will take great care of you.

Norma

 

 

 

Looks like I'll be visiting the Martini Bar!

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We'll be leaving Saxon Reef shortly and we'll be heading straight back to the ship

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Yes, in the Cairns area the season is December through early May. Companies do provide stinger suits.

 

Got it; thanks.

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Last night (Jan 7) the ship's captain announced that the tenders would stop taking passengers to shore at 6pm for safety reasons. Because the announcement occurred while we were away on a Celebrity shore ex, we were unable to get off the ship in time to make our hotel reservation at Cairns.

 

We were going to stay in a hotel to ensure that we would be able to check in at 7:45 am for the scuba diving boat at Cairns on Jan 8.

 

We're going to do Plan B which is to take the special early tender set up for passengers with that have really independent tours on land. The tender is supposed to leave at 6:15 am. The tender is a 40 min ride to Yorkey's Knob. Then a 30 min taxi ride to Cairns. So, on paper we're should be able to make it. We'll see!

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