Final expenses for cruise on the Celebrity Solstice from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, NZ for 14 nights…A few photos…

Tom is the king of cruising.  He loves every moment and I love every moment with him. We were walking in the rain in Sydney when I took this photo.

It’s been a fabulous cruise. With only a few days of not feeling up to par with colds, we both enjoyed every single day and night. The social life was exceptional, the other passengers friendly and welcoming and we spent every meal except a few reveling in mutual travel experiences throughout the world.

The Celebrity Solstice is a meticulous ship, well maintained and easy to manage when walking from one area to another. The staff is thoughtful, helpful and welcomes each passenger they encounter in all venues and decks. 

All activities were organized, well advertised, and promoted with plenty of opportunities for even the single traveler to participate. Surprisingly, the WiFi, although slow preventing more than a few photos to be posted daily was relatively reliable with only a few occasions when we couldn’t connect.

As for the food, by far, this ship above any other previous cruises provided me with the best attention to detail for my special dietary needs preparing beautiful plates with careful consideration of my list of restrictions. Never once, did I have to send back a plate that wasn’t properly prepared. Only once, was it necessary for me to wait for my meal after others at our table were served. 

Every night I was served a perfect avocado, sliced and served with my nightly salad and cup of full-fat sour cream which I used as a salad dressing when none of their prepared dressings were befitting my way of eating.  I sweetened the sour cream with a few drops of my liquid Stevia making a tasty dressing which we often use when preparing our own salads.

It was pouring in Sydney the day we boarded the ship, but it didn’t prevent us from getting out and exploring.

Apparently, a server had given my dinner to another guest and they had to start over, to prepare a complex plate of seafood and vegetables. 

I maintained a level of calm while waiting and once the food arrived, I’d forgotten about it.  Otherwise, the dinner service was always exemplary.

Tom also enjoyed the diverse nightly menu trying many new foods and always finding them not only palatable with his somewhat picky taste buds but overall quite delicious. 

Sure, some passengers complained about being “nickeled and dimed” but we never felt that way.  Our final bill was an acceptable amount lower than we’ve experienced on any of our past 11 cruises.  Then again, we don’t gamble, buy much if anything in the shops, and this time, never felt a need or desire to dine in any of the specialty restaurants.

With the “drink packages” included for both of us in the fare as a “perk” never once did we purchase a beverage not included in the package. Although I don’t drink alcohol, I enjoyed the free-flowing specialty teas, whole cream in Americana coffee with an occasional small shot of sugar-free vanilla syrup, making for a rare special treat.

The cabin, a 2B class which we were upgraded from a 2C class due to our current Captain’s Club standing was ideal for us. We continue to accumulate more points which will enable further upgrades on future cruises.

This photo was taken on the aft of the ship as we sailed through Milford Sound in New Zealand.

The bed, king-sized, was very comfortable with equally good pillows and bedding. The bath had all the space we needed with lots of storage and many amenities. The cabin was 194 square feet, 18 square meters, a size we always find more than adequate. We had a full-sized sofa and coffee table, an extra we often enjoy more for providing extra storage space than actually for lounging. 

The balcony was 54 square feet, 5 square meters, which on this ship we didn’t use often due to inclement weather, was suitable with two lounge chairs and a small table. To date, we’ve always selected a balcony cabin knowing we’d feel cramped and uncomfortable without access to the outdoors from the cabin.

Here are our total expenses for this cruise including the conversion to New Zealand dollars for which, going forward over these next three months, we’ll be stating along with US dollars. 

Cruise fare for the above cabin as stated:
USD $4,771.32, NZD $7,393.85 (Beverage package included for two, valued at USD $1,652, NZD $2,560)

Total excess bill for internet and a few small purchases:
USD $412, NZD $638.45 after the onboard credit of USD $100 , NZD $154.96)

Grand total: USD $5,182.32, NZD $8,032.45
Average cost per day for two: USD $370.24, NZD $573.24

Our ship, the Celebrity Solstice, docked at the port of Tauranga a few days ago.

Having paid the cruise fare in full 75 days before the sail date, the only portion we had to pay now was the USD $412, NZD $638.45 which was charged to the credit card we left on file on the day we boarded the cruise. I’ve already verified the payment online for accuracy without issue.

By the time this post is automatically uploaded this morning, we’ll be well on our way by rental car to our new home in the Taranaki region, close to New Plymouth, New Zealand. 

It’s a five-plus-hour drive which most likely will stretch to six or seven hours with multiple photo stops along the way, including an additional stop for groceries in New Plymouth. We’ll be back tomorrow with all new photos of our journey through the countryside which we’re anticipating with considerable excitement. 

Once again, dear readers, we’ll be “home.” Please stayed tuned.

Photos from one year ago, January 19, 2015:

The area of Princeville where we lived for four months beginning one year ago, was named in honor of an 1860 visit by Prince Albert Kamehameha, son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. It was then a plantation owned by Robert Crichton Wyllie. He named another part of the plantation Emmaville, but that name never stuck. Originally the land was planted with coffee which was not suited to the wet lowlands. Later sugar cane was planted with some success. Wyllie’s nephew inherited the land but committed suicide in 1866. In 1867 it was purchased by Elisha Hunt Allen to later become a cattle ranch. It was sold for development in 1968 and became a golf course and resort called Princeville at Hanalei. For more details, please click here.

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