Crossing the Pacific Ocean on Celebrity Solstice

As I start writing this, it’s 05:20, about an hour before sunrise. I’m on the back deck of the Celebrity Solstice, 8½ hours out of Honolulu, and it’s about 82°F. As usual, only a handful of other passengers are up and about, but crew members are seen often, cleaning or working at all the other jobs that need to be taken care of before the day begins for most people.

I’ve mentioned the wonderful art collection. Among the most unique pieces is “Night Solstice”, by Nancy Friedemann. This is an entire room, which the artist painted on the ship’s walls, floor and ceiling as construction of the ship was being completed. It also includes a glass sculpture and a special soundtrack. It is on the route that everyone takes to the specialty restaurants and the Ensemble Lounge.
Art by Nancy Friedemann on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
I’ve only seen 2 other ships up close – this container ship passed through our wake as the sun was coming up Friday morning.
A container ship seen from the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Not many people on the ship see the wonderful sunrises. There have been a lot of clouds for much of our voyage so far, but also some wonderful skies at the right times.
Sunrise from the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
The other ship we’ve met, on Friday evening just before sunset.
Container ship seen from the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
As the days go on I find myself less and less driven to do anything – simply relaxing has become the main activity (or lack of activity, I suppose 🙂 ). For many people, shopping is a big part of the cruise experience, and the Solstice has quite a few places to do that – this is the main mercantile “street”.
Shopping on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
The quality of the Solstice experience has been consistently extremely high, and that includes the entertainment. On Friday night the show in the theatre was by Greg Bonham, who not only has a great voice, he blows a mean trumpet.
Greg Bonham performing on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
By Saturday morning, crews were putting the final touches on the rebuild of one of the 3 swimming pools, just in time for what was forecast to be our first hot day.
Rebuilding a swimming pool on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
During our last Celebrity cruise, on the Millennium in 2012, Cathy and I spent a lot of time in Cafe al Bacio on Deck 5, having specialty coffees and pastries. For no particular reason, we haven’t this time, but it’s a wonderful space, and we were there with MJ and Jim on Saturday morning.
 on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Executive Chef Markus shared his tips on how to cook a perfect steak, or more accurately, how to spice and season a perfect steak.
Executive Chef Markus on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
With people able to see and hear from several decks, the Grand Foyer is an excellent spot for events like the cooking demonstration.
Executive Chef Markus on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
With so many events competing for attention, it’s handy to be able to watch some on tv – such as Dr. Peter Wasilewski’s presentation on the glaciers on Mauna Kea that we missed.
Dr. Peter Wasilewski speaking on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Saturday afternoon – getting warm and getting close!
Navigation channel on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
We finally made it to one of the regular Hot Glass Shows, and it was so good that I’m sorry we didn’t see more shows. The artists, Helen Tegeler, Elizabeth Perkins and Diane Stendahl, not only create some wonderful pieces but give great narration of the process during the 2-hour shows.
Hot Glass Shows on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
The glass shows are sponsored by the Corning Museum of Glass, and artists get to work on the ship through a CMOG scholarship program. Here, Elizabeth re-heats a piece in the electric furnace while Diane narrates.
Hot Glass Show on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Helen and Elizabeth work on a piece. Two-person teams are common – in this case, Helen was bringing pieces of hot glass to Elizabeth when things such as handles were being added.
Hot Glass Show on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Diane nearing completion of a complex little crab-themed cup.
Diane Stendahl - Hot Glass Show on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
As well as the live shows, there’s a Corning glass museum, with some glass creations as well as descriptions of the tools seen in the shows.
Corning glass museum on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Mother Nature continues to be the overpowering artist on this voyages, with constantly changing skies and light. The first image below was shot at 5:30 pm on Saturday evening, the next one at 06:30 Sunday morning. The morning shot is an HDR image that I created from 3 shots.
Evening sky seen while crossing the Pacific on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Morning sky seen while crossing the Pacific  on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Even the public washrooms on the Solstice are beautiful, and attendants are usually close by. There are a very large number of electronically-controlled wheelchair-accessible stalls.
Public washroom on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
I had thought about booking a 3-hour tour of the ship’s bridge, engine control room and theatre back rooms, but had delayed too long and it was sold out (at $150 per person). However, a special tour of the navigation bridge was set up for Sunday morning for those of us who got put on the waiting list. The youngest officer of the ship, a well-spoken man of 21 who already has 3 years of maritime college and 2 years at sea, gave us a good tour of the controls and systems. The woman and little girl in the centre are looking through a large glass panel in the floor.
The navigational bridge on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Looking aft from the port wing of the bridge.
The view aft from the navigational bridge on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
By 11:30 Sunday morning the skies had cleared, the temperature had climbed into the mid-80s, and the pool decks were packed. I bought a bucket of iced Heinecken and took it back to our cabin so Cathy and I could soak up some sun in solitude.
Pool deck on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
We ordered room service lunch – pepperoni pizza, a roasted chicken sub with fries, and a fruit plate. It arrived within 6-7 minutes, was freshly made and piping hot, and although I gave the steward a $2 tip, it was clearly not expected.
Room service lunch on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
One of the really cool features on the Solstice is the huge manicured lawn on Deck 15, aft of the Hot Glass studio. The lawn is available for various games, or just to enjoy walking barefoot on 🙂 – and there are even foot-baths at each corner of the lawn.
Lawn on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Even some of the benches around the Lawn Club are works of art. We have come to expect nothing but the best on this ship, and haven’t been disappointed yet.
Artistic bench on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
On Sunday night, the second formal night, when many of us enjoy getting dressed up, the 4 of us went to the French specialty restaurant, Murano’s. As good as the Tuscan Grille was, this may have bene even better. Here, our waiter cooks Cathy and MJ’s lobster beside our table. Jim and I both had veal, and rave reviews were the standard for each dish.
Murano's restaurant on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
Sunday night’s show in the theatre was stunning. “Solstice – the Show” is “a spectacular European-style theatrical circus about the timeless battle of day and night, featuring incredible acrobatics, beautiful movement and haunting music.” I haven’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show (on which this show is modelled), but find to hard to believe that it could be any better than what we saw.
Cirque du Soleil type show on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
There were dancer/acrobats in elaborate costumes soaring 50 feet over our heads, some amazing jugglers, and the physical power and grace of some of the performers was hard to believe.
Cirque du Soleil type show on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice

It’s now 08:40 and we’ve passed the Big Island of Hawaii a few miles off to port, though it was mostly hidden by clouds. A narrated sail-in (by naturalist Dirk Younkerman) is going to start at 11:45, so it’s time to post this and get ready for a very busy day.


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