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mahdnc

Live: Jan 2 2018 Solstice Great Barrier Reef

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Does anybody know where on the website it mentions that Cairns and Brisbane have a fee to get into the city? Fee for Cairns was 20 USD and Brisbane is 28 USD (and 45 minutes by bus). Newcastle was free, same with Port Douglas.

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There was no land shuttle at Port Douglas when Solstice was there 3 days ago. You didn't need it because the tender dropped you off at the marina where there were shops, restaurants, snorkel/sailing boats, etc.

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Very hot and humid day here in Brisbane today - stay on the ship with the air conditioning! ..lol Hope you have a great day here once you get past the terrible port area and having to pay to get back to civilisation.

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It certainly looks like it, especially the Timeless entrees. Those are Salmon, chicken and steak on every US based cruise I've been on (and even the med cruise I did)

 

 

 

The Timeless Entrees varied on different nights

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We went to the Australia Zoo today. It is a nice zoo. It was not crowded. But it was hot outside!

 

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Although yesterday was Evening Chic, tonight the MDR had the menu I usually associate with the final formal night: lobster tail, Beef Wellington, etc.

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Good evening from Australia, Phil. I also hope that you are doing well and that you have an awesome 2018!

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Ditto to Phil's comment regarding your cabin photos over the years! We, too, are great FV fans having enjoyed many of them on the M-class ships. We had our first Solstice-class FV aboard Silhouette last year. While it worked out great, there's no comparison to those aft beauties on M-class IMO.

 

Glad I spotted this thread today as I always enjoy following along with your travel adventures. Really enjoyed last year's South America cruise.

 

Continue to enjoy this latest adventure with your family.

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BEAV,

 

Thank you. I miss the huge FV balcony that we had last year aboard Infinity. It was great to have for our picturesque South America cruise.

 

I will be posting a photo review of this cruise after I get home.

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Thanks very much for all the great information! We are on the same cruise in March/April this year and really looking forward to it. We are looking at doing the GBR Celebrity tour in either Airlie Beach or Cairns and we’re wondering which port you would recommend. We are not really into diving or snorkeling but do want to see the reef while there. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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For us, the GBR snorkeling during the Cairns days was much better than Airlie Beach by far. There is another person on our roll call that did the Sail and Snorkel excursion at Airlie Beach (excursion IE15) and was disappointed.

 

If I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would have not bothered with snorkeling on the Airlie Beach day. Instead I would have looked at one of the air tours.

 

Cruise Whitsundays operates the Airlie Beach snorkeling that is done thru Celebrity which we took (excursion IE05). They take you to their pontoon at Hardy Reef. You can check out their website for more information. The company is excellent. Good staff, boat, and pontoon. The snorkeling and diving scenery was disappointing. The fact that it was a cloudy day with no sun to light up the reef did not help. My family declined doing a second dive after doing the first. BTW, this tour was completely sold out before the cruise.

 

Reef Magic Cruises is contracted by Celebrity to do the snorkeling at Cairns. You have a choice of doing a snorkel trip where you are taken to their their pontoon (excursion CN01, we didn't do that one). There is a second excursion done with Reef Magic's snorkel boat (CN30) which is what we did on Cairns Day 1. Again, you can check out Reef Magic's website.

 

On Cairns Day 2 we independently booked our snorkeling/diving through a local company and that was excellent and $500 cheaper for my family of 4 vs doing it through the ship.

 

Port Douglas had some excellent snorkeling and diving that was the equal to Cairns. Celebrity does not offer anything there so you would have to book a tour independently which is what we did.

 

If you are interested in trying out scuba diving for the first time or would prefer to see the reef through a glass bottom boat or via helicopter, you should book a GBR tour that has the pontoon.

Edited by mahdnc

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Thanks for all your information on the GBR tours- you’ve given us lots to think about!

 

We’ve spent a lot of time in Port Douglas. Wavelength are awesome for the GBR. Small groups out directly to three spots on the Reef. No pontoon. They’ll take you to the best snorkeling spots. Highly recommend if you can make the times work.

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Thank you so much for the information and photos so far. Do you remember around what time the muster drill on this cruise was held please?

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Muster drill started around 4:45pm. We were assembled in the Solstice Theater for it.

 

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Great review and thanks for all the pictures and info. We are going on her to NZ in just over a week. Were the chic bits dressy? Us aussies aren’t renowned for dressing up, just don’t want to over do it or under dress.

Thanks.

 

 

I did not think that Evening Chic nights were all that dressy. There were few jackets and ties. Here are two photos taken during the second Evening Chic night for you to judge:

 

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Today was a nice sea day. Smooth sailing. The sun played hide and seek all day. Tomorrow we arrive back in Sydney.

 

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Thank you so much for sharing this cruise and your experiences with us... I'm really looking forward to doing the same cruise in March / April.

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Thank you for the very detailed review. My DH and I were suppose to take this cruise in March but had to cancel. Decided to wait till retirement when we can spend at least 3 weeks or more in Aus. Coming from Toronto Canada is a very long trip and we want to make the most of it. :)

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etmanch,

 

You're welcome. After I get home I will publish a photo review of this trip on this board.

 

I like your plans to spend 3 weeks here in Australia.

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Another thank you for all the info from me. Been following along. Looking forward to your photos when you are organized too.

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Solstice sailed into Sydney Harbor through heavy rain. Fortunately the rain stopped when it was time to debark.

 

In order to catch our USA bound 11:20am flight, we did the self walk off the ship with our luggage. Along with about 200-300 other passengers! The line moved very quickly. Getting on a taxi was a breeze and very orderly.

 

So, now we're back in the real world! Making our own beds, dining menus with prices, etc etc

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