As former cruise sceptics turned cruise converts, we have been curious about the many cruise ships which visit our harbour city and are a common sight around the Circular Quay area. One such ship which is a regular visitor to our shores is the Celebrity Solstice, Australia and New Zealand’s highest rated cruise ship. We stepped on board the Celebrity Solstice recently to learn more about their culinary offering and what sets this particular ship apart from the others.
We started our tour of the ship with a glass of bubbles in the Grand Epernay dining room, which lived up to its name with its glamorous decor and an impressive 1800 bottle wine tower as the centrepiece of the room.
Next up, the Executive Chef of the Celebrity Solstice showed off his skills with a cooking demonstration featuring delicious Blue Eye Trevalle with Diamond Clams and Samphire in the gorgeous Blu restaurant, which is a private dining venue that passengers in AquaClass cabins and suites have exclusive access to.
Blue Eye Trevalle with Diamond Clams and Samphire
From Blu restaurant, we made our way up to The Lawn Club to savour some snacks in our comfy deck chairs while enjoying an outdoor screening of Chef, starring Jon Favreau and Scarlett Johansson. We loved that the small bites served during the screening matched the tasty treats which were popping up on screen as part of the movie – the photo below is of the delicious (and indulgent) Pork Belly with Orange.
Pork Belly with Orange
Dinner was served in the Tuscan Grille restaurant, which had a stunning view of the Harbour Bridge (perks of being docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal) which specialises in iconic Italian dishes.
We started off with the House Meatballs which came highly recommended and turned out to be a massive serving that did not disappoint with hearty flavours shining through with every bite.
Our other entree was the Crab Cake, lightly crumbed and cooked beautifully, served with a cracked pink peppercorn aioli and a tasty tomato salsa.
As for our mains, the Lobster Rigatoni Alfredo was a real treat with a decent amount of the shellfish tossed in amongst the rich, creamy sauce coating the pasta. The boy decided to go for the USDA Prime Dry Aged Porterhouse steak which at 22oz, was a very generous serving size that definitely hit the spot for his steak cravings.
Lobster Rigatoni Alfredo
USDA Prime Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak
For dessert we enjoyed their Pistachio Marble Creme Brûlée featuring a delectable pistachio creme and chocolate ganache centre, for something a bit different. Our second dessert was the classic Tiramisu served in a cute little jar with the layers of mascarpone and lady finger cookies laced with espresso liqueur giving us a sweet end to our decadent meal aboard.
Pistachio Marble Creme Brûlée
To cap off our night, we stopped by the Martini Bar to watch their entertaining bartenders perform their party trick of pouring a dozen martinis from a finely balanced stack of cocktail shakers into the stacked glasses on the ice-topped bar. It was definitely an impressive feat to watch in action and they whipped up quite a lively crowd of fans to watch the spectacle, making for a vibrant atmosphere for our nightcap.
Our evening on board the Celebrity Solstice showed us how seriously the brand takes their culinary offerings and its no wonder that Celebrity Cruises have been recognised in the competitive cruise industry as having quality gourmet dining options with their premium selection of restaurants featuring menus crafted by Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher.
The dishes we sampled at each dining venue were consistently delicious and that consistency really is no easy feat for a cruise ship to achieve considering how many hungry cruisers they serve aboard – 13,000 meals prepared for 2,850 guests by 162 chefs every day! Foodie travellers will enjoy the calibre and variety of dishes on offer on the Celebrity Solstice, with the chefs carefully curating the contemporary gourmet selection to ensure that their guests are able to experience a range of flavours and locally sourced ingredients as part of their travels.
We would love to spend more time on board the Celebrity Solstice in the future and considering the variety itineraries departing from Sydney, it wont be too hard for us to find an excuse to step aboard this magnificent ship again to get the full cruising experience.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of the Celebrity Solstice