Celebrity Solstice debuts this Friday in Fort Lauderdale in a naming ceremony and a series of short cruise for press and preferred travelers. Personally, I have been waiting for this event for two years and I couldn't be more excited about it. Solstice represents the first of the "next generation" of cruise ships.
Solstice is the first all-new "class" of ship, meaning an all-new design from the keel up, to come along in many years. And there are many more new ships to follow from 2009 through 2012. These will be banner years new arrivals, all of them fresh new designs, for almost every cruise line in the mainstream, deluxe and luxury cruise business.
Celebrity Solstice strikes me as a beautiful new ship interior - gracious and spacious, to coin a new phrase. She features plenty of bright, open spaces with large water fountains, immense windows and trim in blonde wood. The main attraction is her size which promises plenty of space per passenger.
The cabins are the largest ever offered by Celebrity, and were designed by a team of hand-picked ladies charged with putting special touches into the final product. The focus is on eye-pleasing lines and colors to make you feel relaxed the minute you walk in. There are extra-large showers, a rarity on a cruise ship, and seating areas designed to actually be used rather than just collect items during your stay.
The pool and solarium area (pictured above) will be a slice of heaven on any day at sea. Designed to offer a warm glow of sunshine in any temperature, the constant sound of flowing water from the gorgeous fountain makes the room is a masterpiece of environmental design in offering soothing, calming relaxation.
The dining rooms are all elegantly appointed, and will feature a completely new concept in cuisine for Celebrity, moving out of the era of Michel Roux and into the hands of Elizabeth Blau, and highly respected dining expert whose specialty is pairing chefs with their venues.
The Grand Epernay Dining Room is a stunning blend of modern and classic touches, nothing neo, but pure modern beauty with stylishly shaped glass wings supporting a globe chandelier. The Restaurant Blu is equally lush, with simple but elegant color combinations of royal blue and cream.
Solstice is arguably the first ship that is designed for this century. From the real grass Patio on the Lawn, to the special one-of-a-kind diamond cut named after her, the original Hot Glass Show, another first in the industry, developed in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass and finally to the numerous verandah cabins - more comfortable and accomodating than ever. This is a ship that will please.