Celebrity Solstice Debuts

Celebrity Solstice is the first of a coming industry wave of newer and larger cruise ships, and breaks the mold.

Onboard Dining Celebrity Cruises was long associated with the culinary guidance of 3-star Michelin chef Michel Roux of London. That association began when Celebrity was under the auspices of John Chandris and lasted almost two decades before the line sought the guidance of dining expert Elizabeth Blau.

Now, Celebrity Cruises' president Dan Hanrahan reveals that within Blau's portfolio of culinary experts was one that the line grew so fond of they have tapped him as the "go-to guy." Now, Vice President of Food & Beverage, Jacques Van Staden is in charge of creating the menus for each of the ten different dining destinations onboard Solstice and all other Celebrity ships as well.

The dining options range from the Lido-style restaurant known as the Oceanview Café and Grill to the main dining room for all cruisers, the "Grand Epernay Dining Room." Although it isn't mentioned, Epernay is the village in France known for production of champagne, the hometown of Moet.

Here are the dining options on Solstice:

The Grand Epernay: this two-level dining room features a stunning décor of mostly white walls and angular pillars, chairs and tablecloths. There is a grand staircase with silver railings and an immense chandelier of hanging silver bubbles. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features continental European cuisine and champagne from the rooms' namesake region.

Tuscan Grille: Italian steakhouse and specialty restaurant offering fine Italian wines and panoramic views along with your Caesar salad, made tableside.

Silk Harvest: Cuisine of Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China and India, served family-style, with built-in lazy-Susans and small plates perfect for sharing.

Restaurant Views: click on pics for larger images:

Tuscan Grille   Grand Epernay Dining Room   Silk Road Pan-Asian Restaurant

Blu Restaurant: The specialty restaurant set aside as the exclusive dining venue for the AquaClass suite guests, serving healthy fare in a sophisticated and soothing atmosphere.

Murano Restaurant: Savory multi-course meals featuring a blend of classic and modern continental cuisine with an extensive and superb wine list.

Bistro on Five: This small, bistro-like room hidden behind glass walls in the public areas of deck five, this room features crepes of all kinds from breakfast to luncheons with beef or chicken and, of course, desserts. There are also soups, salads and quiche. The surcharge is a simple $5.00 per person.

Café al Bacio and Gelateria: across from the Bistro on Five, this upscale coffeehouse features mostly pastries and gelato or Italian ices by the scoop. There is a small charge for the gelato.

AquaSpa Café: not for the exclusive use of the AquaSpa suite guests (that is "Blu.") This restaurant is inside the Solarium and features lighter, healthier fare such as salads, fresh raw vegetables and small sandwiches.

Mast Grill and Bar: the poolside grill serving up the usual poolside fare; hamburgers, fries, tacos, chicken wings, bratwurst, gyros, ruebens and onion rings.

The Oceanview Café and Grill: this is one of the nicest Lido cafeteria-style buffet rooms this cruiser has ever seen. With a multitude of dedicated stations of different types of food, it is easy to see all of the possible selections and lines are always short. Dedicated stations include the carvery, salad bar, dessert bar, Asian stir-fry, grilled steaks and chops and more.

Restaurant Views: click on pics for larger images:

rear deck lido restaurant   Wine Bottles near Restaurant Row   Grille Window table

Staterooms on Solstice All of the staterooms on Solstice share certain things in common. They average 15% larger than previous Celebrity cabins and most of that space is given over to the bathroom. The bathrooms are large enough for two people to get ready at the same time. There is ample storage space and the showers are approximately 25% larger than the average cruise ship.

All staterooms feature flat-screen televisions of at least 32-inches. Although the televisions are placed over the desk instead of directly in front of the bed, it is possible to adjust the angle of the screen so it is squarely visible to both people in bed. All beds can be separated into two twin beds or put together as a single queen-sized bed. All have a rounded corner to make it easier to walk around.

Cabin Views: click on pics for larger images:

family oceanview verandah   TV on angle   family oceanview

All staterooms offer wireless Internet access at an additional fee, with data throughput nearing broadband speeds - impressive for a satellite service. All cabins come with a generous sofa directly in front of the television. In cabins that can accommodate extra guests, these sofas are trundle beds. Solstice does not have pulldown beds with ladders.

The desk area has plenty of shelf space and both US 110-volt and European 220-volt outlets - perfect for a computer setup, or a vanity area with lighted mirror. There is an adjustable-height coffee table. The staterooms all have doors that open outward towards the hallway instead of inward. All of the doors are recessed from the hallways so they do not open into public traffic lanes.

Every stateroom features an Apple Computer-based interactive television. A Mac Mini running special software allows the user to interact with various cruise services like shore excursion bookings, onboard accounts, on-demand movies, restaurant menus, ordering room service and more.

Inside Staterooms: Comprising only about 10% of all staterooms onboard, the inside rooms range from 183 to 200 sq. ft. and are generally the same layout as the basic oceanview or verandah cabins.

Oceanview Staterooms: these cabins are also the same basic layout with slightly shorter sofas that do not contain trundle beds.

Veranda Staterooms: As mentioned, these comprise 85% of the cabins on the ship. There are several different categories of verandah cabins in Solstice, but all of the veranda cabins are at least 194 sq. ft and the balconies are a minimum of 54 sq. ft. - a generous size large enough for a lounger, table and a chair. The main difference between the two categories above and Verandah cabins is that the sitting area is next to the full, floor to ceiling sliding glass doors leading to the balcony. In the non-verandah cabins the seating area is next to the bathroom.

Sunset Verandah: 194-sq. ft. with essentially the same layout as an oceanview cabin.

Concierge Verandah: 194-sq. ft. with essentially the same layout as an oceanview cabin.

Deluxe Ocean View with Verandah: 194-sq. ft. with essentially the same layout as an oceanview cabin. The only difference here is that category 07 staterooms have an obstructed view verandah.

Family Ocean View with Veranda: these cabins are immense and roomy at 575 square feet. Situated fully forward of the ship below the bridge, they come with slanted walls and a small verandah barely big enough for a chair and table, but with a solid steel windbreak.

There is a master bedroom with two beds convertible to queen-size, and a second bedroom with one twin bed. There is a separate seating area with a sofa convertible to trundle bed, a vanity area and a privacy partition. This is one of CruiseMates top cabin picks on the ship.

Suites: the smallest suite onboard is 300 sq. ft. All suites offer bathtubs, larger 40-inch LCD televisions, walk-in closets, larger verandahs and mini-refrigerators.

Sky Suite: 300-sq. ft. with a 79-sq. ft. verandah. The room is wider and the bathroom features a shower/tub combination.

Celebrity Suite: 395-sq. ft. with a 158-sq. ft. verandah. The bathroom features a shower/tub combination. There is a separate bedroom and main seating area with a couch, coffee table and extra chair. The outside wall is wall to wall and floor to ceiling glass with a sliding glass door.

Royal Suite: 500-sq. ft. with a 104-sq. ft. verandah. There is a main seating area with a 50-in. LCD television, a couch, coffee table and extra chair. The outside wall is wall to wall and floor to ceiling glass with a sliding glass door. The verandah is much wider and features a whirlpool hot tub. The bedroom is separate and the bathroom offers a Jacuzzi-style hot tub and a separate shower.

Penthouse Suite: 1,291 sq. ft. with a: 389 sq. ft. Veranda, this suite features a baby grand piano (midi-capable so it plays itself). There is a sofa queen sleeper, full bar, lounge seating and a full guest bath. The living room has a surround sound entertainment system with 52" LCD TV and wireless Internet access is available. The master bedroom features a king size bed, 52" LCD TV, vanity, walk in closet, marble master bath with whirlpool tub, shower stall with dual shower heads, double washbasins and 26" LCD TV. The veranda has a whirlpool and lounge seating.

The two suites above can be combined into one large suite.

AquaClass Suites: Celebrity calls these suites a balance between indulgence and wellness. They are all, 130 of them, located on deck 11 nearby the AquaSpa area. Guests receive a specially colored keycard to identify them throughout the ship.

In-room amenities include a welcome kit with a beginning teeth whitener, Frette robe and slippers and special shower gel to go with the five-head shower by Hansgrohe. There are oversized bath towels, Euro face towels, and special bedding with a pillow menu for your choice of pillow.

The room has light dimmers, special fragrance elements, a daily carafe of iced tea (decaffeinated if preferred), special room service with healthy choices, special music selected by music therapists and healthy daily canapés.

Most importantly, you get exclusive access to the restaurant "Blu," for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This allows for quiet, uncrowded healthy dining in a calm atmosphere. You also get access to the Persian Garden, a suite of aromatherapy mists and showers, hot wet and dry saunas and hot ceramic beds for full body relaxation.

Continue Article >> Entertainment on Solstice - Daytime (Part 4)

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