For a number of years I have been very intrigued by a particular cruise on Celebrity Solstice that has circumnavigated Australia. It’s a much longer itinerary than we have ever done and to be honest we have never really been in the position to take the time off work required to take a cruise of that length and as a consequence always dismissed it as a possibility.
However on a lazy bank holiday weekend in May 2015 while feeling a little inquisitive and with nothing booked in our calendar for 2017 I decided to investigate how feasible it would actually be to do this cruise.
To our disappointment the one year when there may have been a window of opportunity to actually do it, Celebrity had decided not to! So with my thoughts focused on that region and specifically cruising with Celebrity I started to investigate some alternative options. We found a lovely 12 night itinerary that starts in Auckland and finishes in Sydney which had instant appeal but being curious and because of the different start and finish ports we wondered if it went back to Auckland as a round New Zealand trip. After a bit more researching I discovered that the ship then went out to the Fiji Islands and back to Sydney on another 12 nighter. At this point I was seriously thinking a cruise this length in htis region could actually be on the cards snd after a very short discussion we concluded it would be silly to go all that way for just 12 nights so we pencilled in both cruises to our potential itinerary. When the same curiosity reapplied itself, we found to our surprise that the next 12 night cruise was again a different itinerary, this time going up to Port Douglas and the Barrier Reef then back to Sydney so with the same thought process as before we added it to our dream itinerary. Everything looked amazing on paper but would it be possible to turn our dream into a reality? Initially we decided to get prices for the first 2 cruises and then another for all three and take it from there.
My biggest hurdle was to get time off work approved so when I approached my boss I must have caught him in a great mood as he just said “Go for it!” I didn’t ask twice. That was the biggest potential problem dealt with so from there it was all systems go.
After a few e-mails to favoured agents we were eventually delighted to be able to book the whole trip as a package for just a £150 per person deposit, Natalie Cookson at Cruise Club UK again coming up trumps with what we considered was for us an exceptional package. We couldn’t believe our luck and actually took this as a good omen that we were meant to go. Then when we applied a future cruise credit to the booking it then provided us with additional OBC totalling $600 per sailing, yes that’s $1800 total for the three cruises. In addition we have even managed to get pre-paid gratuities thrown in as well. Someone really is looking out for us!
Below are the three itinerary’s which will give us 36 nights total on Celebrity Solstice.
|Friday, February 17, 2017||Auckland, New Zealand||8:00PM|
|Saturday, February 18, 2017||Tauranga, New Zealand||8:00AM||8:00PM|
|Sunday, February 19, 2017||At Sea|
|Monday, February 20, 2017||Napier, New Zealand||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Tuesday, February 21, 2017||Wellington, New Zealand||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Wednesday, February 22, 2017||Akaroa, New Zealand||8:00AM||7:00PM|
|Thursday, February 23, 2017||Dunedin, New Zealand||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Friday, February 24, 2017||Dusky Sound, New Zealand||8:00AM||9:00AM|
|Friday, February 24, 2017||Doubtful Sound, New Zealand||11:00AM||12:00PM|
|Friday, February 24, 2017||Milford Sound, New Zealand||4:30PM||6:00PM|
|Saturday, February 25, 2017||At Sea|
|Sunday, February 26, 2017||At Sea|
|Monday, February 27, 2017||Hobart, Tasmania||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Tuesday, February 28, 2017||At Sea|
|Wednesday, March 01, 2017||Sydney, Australia||6:30AM|
|Wednesday, March 01, 2017||Sydney, Australia||6:30PM|
|Thursday, March 02, 2017||At Sea|
|Friday, March 03, 2017||At Sea|
|Saturday, March 04, 2017||Noumea, New Caledonia||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Sunday, March 05, 2017||Lifou, Loyalty Island||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Monday, March 06, 2017||Mystery Island, Vanuatu||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Tuesday, March 07, 2017||At Sea|
|Wednesday, March 08, 2017||Suva, Fiji||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Thursday, March 09, 2017||Lautoka, Fiji||7:00AM||4:00PM|
|Friday, March 10, 2017||At Sea|
|Saturday, March 11, 2017||At Sea|
|Sunday, March12, 2017||At Sea|
|Monday, March 13, 2017||Sydney, Australia||6:30AM|
|Monday, March 13, 2017||Sydney, Australia||6:30PM|
|Tuesday, March 14, 2017||Newcastle, Australia||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Wednesday, March 15, 2017||At Sea|
|Thursday, March 16, 2017||At Sea|
|Friday, March 17, 2017||Airlie Beach, Qld, Australia||8:00AM||5:00PM|
|Saturday, March 18, 2017||Cairns, Australia||10:00AM|
|Sunday, March 19, 2017||Cairns, Australia||7:00PM|
|Monday, March 20, 2017||Port Douglas, Australia||7:00AM||7:00PM|
|Tuesday, March 21, 2017||Willis Island (Cruising), Aus||11:00AM||1:00PM|
|Wednesday, March 22, 2017||At Sea|
|Thursday, March 23, 2017||Brisbane, Australia||8:00AM||8:00PM|
|Friday, March 24, 2017||At Sea|
|Saturday, March 25, 2017||Sydney, Australia||6:30AM|
We have also managed to get the same cabin for all three cruises and again someone is looking out for us because its in our favoured location on the hump, deck 7.
Getting to Auckland and then back home from Sydney will involve 4 flights in total. Again we feel someone is looking out for us as we were able to include the flights into the package along with all transfers. Our journey out is via Los Angeles and the return leg is via Singapore both with stopovers and with different airlines. Essentially we will go round the world in 42 days.
Because of the duration of this trip we have had to do a lot more planning than usual and with so many new ports to visit we have been very busy checking out what will be of interest to us. The Cruise Critic Roll Calls have been a great source of information and we have lots of things planned and hopefully there will be much to share here as the trip unfolds.
Hopefully you will tag along and with a bit of luck enjoy hearing about what we get up to which will include our journeys to and from the ship.