The Cruise on the Celebrity Solstice Begins

When I closed the blog on Tuesday morning, a glorious sunrise had just started the day. As I write this, we’re out in the Pacific Ocean a few hours southwest of Vancouver Island. It’s dark (06:00) and the seas are heavy – there will certainly be some sick people today. I, however, love it. The Celebrity Solstice is a magnificent ship, and we’re headed for Hawaii. The Solstice has been on our “want-to-sail” list for several years, and she’s the perfect ship to end our cruising period (for a few years).

We were in no big hurry to leave the hotel yesterday. We were extremely pleased with every aspect of our stay at the Pan Pacific, and will be back some day. Our room was an amazing place to watch the float planes and other action in the harbour.
Float planes in Vancouver Harbour
A last look at “The Drop”, and Mahoney & Sons Irish Pub, our dinner spot on Sunday night.
The Drop sculpture, and Mahoney & Sons Irish Pub in Vancouver
My little buddy, Nanook, is travelling with us on this trip 🙂
Husky Nanook explores the world
We called the hotel porter to have our bags taken to the ship (one of the advantages of staying at the Pan Pacific, which is right on the dock), went for a light breakfast, then outside to have a look at the Solstice as boarding time neared.
The Celebrity Solstice at Canada Place
We met MJ and Jim in the hotel lobby a few minutes before 11:00, took the elevator to “CS”, the Cruise Ship level, and walked a block or so to get in line for boarding.
Walking to our cruise ship at Canada Place
It was the most efficient boarding we’ve ever experienced. Within 45 minutes we were on board, and went for an excellent lunch in the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 14 while our cabins were being made up. An announcement was made at 1:00 that the cabins were all ready, and shortly after that, we got our first look at cabin 7258, our home for the next couple of weeks. As with everything else we’ve seen on the ship so far, we were extremely pleased with it. It’s spacious (for a cruise ship cabin 🙂 ), bright, in excellent condition, and spotlessly clean.
Balcony cabin 7258 on Celebrity Solstice
Even the bathroom, sometimes a tight little closet of a room, feels spacious.
Bathroom in balcony cabin 7258 on Celebrity Solstice
With our carryon bags in the cabin, it was much easier to go for an initial reconnoiter of the ship. Everything is simply beautiful, from the grand staircase…
Grand staircase on Celebrity Solstice
… to the main theatre which seats 1,387 people…
Main theatre on Celebrity Solstice
… to cozy little spaces that are found in many locations around the ship – this one is near the martini bar.
One of the many cozy little spaces to relax on Celebrity Solstice
We had neglected to tie our reservation to that of our friends, so had dinner reservations at different tables. To rectify that, we went down to the main dining room, Grand Epernay, and the Assistant Maitre d’ soon had that fixed.
Grand Epernay dining room on Celebrity Solstice
There are 3 main “specialty dining” restaurants on the Solstice which have surcharges – this is Silk Harvest, which features Asian fusion cuisine. The others are Murano (contemporary French cuisine) and Tuscan Grill (an Italian steakhouse).
Silk Harvest restaurant on Celebrity Solstice
Cruise ships normally sail from Vancouver at about 4:30 pm, but as 5:00 approached we were still docked. Oh well, I never get tired of the buildings that make up Vancouver’s skyline, from old to under-construction.
Historic building in downtown Vancouver
It was chilly with sporadic light rain, so nobody braved the pools. I saw a notice that one of them will be closed for renovations for this voyage.
Pools on Celebrity Solstice
At 5:15 we backed away from Canada Place and I got a better look at some work being done at the North Vancouver drydock.
North Vancouver drydock
That’s a spectacular skyline whatever the weather.
Vancouver skyline
Passing the Brockton Point lighthouse in Stanley Park.
Brockton Point lighthouse in Stanley Park
The Lions Gate Bridge is one of the things that makes Vancouver one of the most popular sailaway ports in the world.
Celebrity Solstice approaches the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver
The mast on the Solstice had to be modified so it can be lowered to fit under the Lions Gate Bridge (this is her first year sailing into Vancouver).
I was going to stay and watch how the mast was raised, but the late departure meant that I had to make a choice between that and our dinner. I took a few last photos of Siwash Rock and the freighters in English Bay, and headed downstairs 🙂
Siwash Rock, Stanley Park

When I wrote this post it ended with: “It’s now 07:00 and the ship is starting to wake up, so I’ll post this and go for breakfast. We have a busy day planned – in my next post I’ll tell you about what that entails for us.” However, it took me 24 hours to figure out a way to upload the photos – my usual way that has worked on every previous cruise just wouldn’t work, and the type of software I use may be disallowed, as others such as Skype are. It’s now Thursday morning 🙂


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