Celebrity Solstice will be sailing her first cruise from a U.S. port on November 30, 2008; three weeks earlier than expected. Solstice is the first of the new generation of ships set to debut between the end of 2008 and on through 2012.
From Celebrity to Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL, all of the major cruise lines have new ships on tap, some of them featuring revolutionary designs concepts the likes of which have never been seen on cruise ships before. And the announcements of what these new ships will include are coming out quickly now as each cruise lines vies for attention and their moment in the spotlight.
Luxury and deluxe cruise lines are not to be left out. Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania, Cunard and Holland America all have new models of ships debuting in the next few years as well. Each new ship from all the above cruise lines will be brand new designs, and most average from 30% to 100% larger than the current vessels sailing for these lines.
Celebrity Solstice is the first ship in a whole new class for Celebrity Cruises since 2000, and it is the first completely new class of ships for any cruise line in years now. But being first does not necessarily make it the most innovative.
Just this week Royal Caribbean and one rival cruise line, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) both made major announcements to preview features of their respective new ship designs. In New York, Royal Caribbean announced new features to be included in its new Oasis of the Seas (Oasis-class) of ships that includes two-deck suites, a massive outdoor Aquatheater and a new "neighboorhood-themed" area of the ship called "Boardwalk" to add to previously announced neighborhoods such as "Central Park" with real grass.
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Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean
Oasis of the Seas, slated to shatter the "largest cruise ship in the world" record at 220,000-tons will have the first ziplining at sea - suspended nine decks above Central Park. The Royal promenade area, already familiar to Royal Caribbean fans, will be almost twice as wide as the ones on the current largest cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas (160,000-tons). The new Royal Promenade will also have a mezzanine level one deck higher, and natural light will cascade down to it through glass skylights contained in the Central Park and Boardwalk neighboorhoods several decks higher.
Mean while, NCL is going a completely different direction with its new F3 vessels set to debut in 2010. Company president Colin Veitch announced to the press on Tuesday that their new ships, at 150,000-tons and 4500 passenger berths, will "not have any huge, high-ceilinged rooms that only get used for a few hours every day." The ship has as many as twelve restaurants and five separate entertainment venues, none of which is a main theater for the typical cruise ship production show. Rather, each venue will be multi-purposed with a daytime atmosphere giving way to a nighttime ambience. Each venue will have a distinct personality and theme, from the laid-back Posh Beach Club to the upscale Halo, the Über Bar with VIP access limited to Garden and Courtyard villa guests exclusively.
Most interesting on F3 ships is the Ice Bar, a fully contained bar within a sub-freezing ice-locker. Everything inside the bar will be made of ice, including the chairs, bar counter and glasses. Guests will be issued fur coats and the price of admission includes sub-freezing vodka served in ice glasses.
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Solstice for the Soul Group Cruise. Sail on Celebrity's newest ship, Solstice from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl on November 30, 2008. Escape winter and get some Sol (Sun) for your Soul - and tons of fun - for 7 glorious nights, calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and returning to Ft. Lauderdale.
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