ALASKA, Jun 2, 2018 — The Inuit called her Alaskaq. Today she is more commonly known as “Alaska.” That’s how naturalist Brent Nixon introduces his series of lectures aboard the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice at the beginning of each Alaskan cruise this summer.
As Albert Einstein once said
“look deep into Nature and you will find the answer to everything!”
Nixon’s lectures encompass a history of Alaska, whales, bears and bald eagles as well as personal narratives chock full of quotes from explorers and writers with similar passions for nature.
The Celebrity Solstice setting the standard
But that’s only for starters because Celebrity Solstice begins with a bang that sets the standard for cruising Alaska that offers more value for the traveling dollar than you can imagine.
For the most part, cruises are generally the same, with an emphasis on dining, shipboard entertainment, and excursions.
Which means that to excel, a cruise line must do things that are both innovative and creative to stand out from the competition. It is in this category where Celebrity excels. Solstice, for example, was the first in the industry to incorporate solar panels aboard ship.
In the latter part of the year, the line will unveil Celebrity Edge which will change the cruising experience forever.
Passengers can spend considerably more for a cruise, but Celebrity offers more bang for the traveling dollar than any of her competitors in the price range.
Active Cruising – Oh the things you can do
Celebrity cruises may just be the most active ships afloat while they are at sea with something to do virtually every minute you are sailing.
Most activities are done in 45-minute increments which allow demonstrations and entertainers ample time to teach and perform without “overdoing” things.
Throughout the day cruisers try glass blowing, enjoy dance lessons, take cooking classes, attend lectures, make bids at art auctions, play trivia or simply enjoy any one of four or five different lounge performers who play a diversity of genres from folk music to rock and even classical.
While most cruise lines also offer a variety of activities throughout the day, Celebrity’s onboard performances, including the lounge performers, are superb.
Alaska, the Off-Off-Off Broadway shows are about as far from the Big Apple as you can get, but productions rival anything you will see in New York. Staging, lighting, music, dancing and the all-round quality of the entertainment only serves to enhance the cruise experience.
In the lounges, singers like guitarist Ged Parker of Liverpool regularly perform an eclectic range of music from the Beatles, to Irish folk tunes, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and everything in between.
His mellow style and voice remind you a little of Rod Stewart.
At the other end of the spectrum, passengers can enjoy the renderings of Adagio. Kseniia Pevnieva plays cello while Dina Khomenko is a virtuoso on the violin.
The Ukrainian women met while studying music and teamed up to form a unique sound that includes light classics to contemporary show tunes. Now and then they even join the production staff to play in the band for a theatrical show.
Speaking of lounges, one of the neatest places on Solstice is a dark quiet room that separates Cafe Al Bacio, the coffee bar, and the Ensemble Lounge on Deck 5. There are no chairs in the room, and no one ever stays there long enough to enjoy the soothing sweet nighttime sounds of crickets and bullfrogs. It may just be the most peaceful spot on the ship.
Service is a key to making people feel happy and to enjoy their time on the shi. With a crew representing 65 countries, cruising may just be the greatest goodwill ambassador in the world for demonstrating that people from different cultures and backgrounds can, indeed, work together.
Celebrity’s staff is second to none, with top-notch service from every discipline on their ships beginning with stateroom services, lounge servers, dining room attendants, performers and, of course, the cruise staff itself.
Watch a dynamic show in the theater and greet the singers and dancers afterwards. You may be amazed at how humble and appreciative these talented young people are when you thank them for a job well done.
Shore excursions are too numerous to count. The best thing to do is go through the list and eliminate the outings that do not appeal. Then go back to determine the tours you most prefer.
Here again, Celebrity outdoes itself with whale watching and wildlife tours, trips to glaciers, hiking, zip-lining, dog sledding, riding historic trains, gardens and anything else you can imagine.
Logistics is the name of the game, and Celebrity does it as well as anyone in the industry. Breaking the day into categories that take into consideration the amount of time in port, time at sea, dining arrangements and all other facets of the cruise are expertly coordinated in such a way that travelers are not overwhelmed at being unable to see and do whatever interests them.
Dining in Epernay, the main dining room, is done in two seatings with theatrical shows usually taking place at 7 and 9 p.m. so that anyone who wants to attend can do so. Dinner menus offers several new entrees each night as well as at three appetizers and main choices that are available every evening.
Cruising to Alaska is a life-altering experience aboard a ship named Solstice which could not be more appropriate for the time of year that it sails.
For value for your traveling dollar, Celebrity cruises is a first-rate experience that you will remember forever. If you sail with Solstice, be sure to meet Captain Tasos at the outset of your journey and you will know immediately that you are in good hands.
And if you are fortunate enough to sail when Brent Nixon is aboard, well, that’s like icing on your Baked Alaskaq.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up