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Impressions of Solstice

October 13, 2008 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
 

Travel Agent gets a peek at the newest Celebrity ship


“Elegance redefined” embodies the new 122,000-ton Celebrity Solstice. I was one of the first guests to actually stay overnight on the ship in late September as part of a small media group whisked to Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, by Celebrity Cruises.

celebrity solstice

The Celebrity Solstice begins service on November 23

We toured the 2,850-guest ship as it was nearing completion. While some decorative appointments were not yet added, carpeting was installed and wall coverings were up. Furniture was in place in many rooms. It was quite easy to visualize how most areas of the ship would ultimately look.

Late on the day we debarked, the ship sailed from the shipyard, navigating up the narrow River Eems en route to sea trials. My first impressions during my brief onboard stay?

Dreamy Design: The public areas are a definite wow, thanks in part to their spacious nature from top to bottom. In many cases, Celebrity purposely raised normal ceiling heights, which opens up the spaces. Also, the cut-above interior design is easy on the eyes.

Live Grass on the Lawn: Who can resist an open-air park? Atop the ship, a 23,000-square-foot Lawn Club boasts specially cultivated “live” Creeping Bent grass and sail-like canvas coverings. Your clients will relax here with picnics in the park. They might also enjoy a three-hole putting course, play bocci ball or listen to a concert. Celebrity has hired a former golf course greenskeeper to assure the turf remains in tip-top shape. Around the lawn are a Sunset Bar and Lawn Club shop.

Glass-Blowing Kilns: Also bordering the Lawn Club, artisans from Corning Glass will provide a unique glass-blowing experience for your clients. Here, guests will peruse electric ovens of varying temperatures for the different stages of glass firing. Guests may watch demonstrations by the pros and, at times, may be invited to actually participate.

Digs with a Dyamite Bath: Staterooms on this vessel are 15 percent larger, on average, than on other Celebrity ships. The standard balcony cabin boasts a spacious entry area. Also, there is plenty of room between the bed and the opposite wall. Beneath the bed is sizable storage space for luggage. Two tiny black end tables on either side of the bed consist of three-level open shelving. Two large compartments high over the bed will hold linens, but also may be used by guests for storing some items.

A large and comfortable cream-colored leather couch, which converts to a bed, occupies one side of the living area. On the opposite side is an attractive armoire with five drawers; a small refrigerator; several nooks and crannies for storage; a makeup/desk-like area with large mirror and chair; and a large Samsung flat-screen TV.

The only negative about the cabin would be the couch’s proximity to the two-door closet. It was physically impossible to stand on one side of the wardrobe because the couch was a bit too large.
On the plus side, that closet features a large safe (a convenience for those bringing a laptop or other valuables). Inside the wardrobe are several shelves on one side. Shorter garments such as shirts, skirts and coats can be hung above the shelves; the other side accommodates longer garments. A pull-down bracket offers additional flexibility. In this stateroom, guests also access a nicely sized exterior balcony.

The star of the cabin, though, is the bathroom and its homey feel. It boasts a large shower for a non-suite, with semi-circular doors that guests can pull shut around themselves. Within the shower, the female designers added a low-level foot rack that makes it easier for women to shave their legs. We loved the cabinetry look and positive functionality of the bathroom with its makeup mirror, multiple small drawers and small shelves for toiletries, some behind a see-through glass door.

AquaSpa and Solarium: Anything and everything to do with the spa features an attractive blue-and-white color scheme—from carpeting to glass panels in the large exercise facility. We toured spacious couples’ treatment rooms and longingly eyed the heated tile loungers. The spa area also boasts a Solarium with theraputic shooting water streams and a large pool.

Grand Epernay Dining Room: Designed by Adam Tihany, the Grand Epernay Dining Room is absolutely stunning with its cream and shiny metallic decor, massive two-story glass wine tower and stunning ceiling sculptures. The room oozes elegance in a cutting-edge way.

Martini bar celebrity solstice

The Martini Bar on Celebrity Solstice

Oceanview Casual Dining: We like the look and the spaciousness of the casual, complimentary Oceanview Café and Bar. It features multiple islands for different types of cuisine. The space between those islands is sizable, providing good traffic flow even during peak periods. Also, with good ceiling lighting above the islands, the food not only tastes good, it shows well.

Alternative Dining: At $20 to $30 per person, specialty venues include Murano, which will serve a blend of classic and modern continental cuisine; Silk Harvest for Asian food featuring everything from Pakistani to Chinese and Thai to Vietnamese; and Tuscan Grille, a steakhouse venue with an Italian twist, including an antipasti bar.

Blu: New Aqua-class stateroom guests dine nightly in their own intimate specialty restaurant called Blu, rather than in the main dining room. As the name might suggest, Blu continues the color scheme we observed in all spa-related facilities onboard, but boasts flashes of other colors as well, including an unusual load-bearing wall that was creatively disguised with colorful cylinders. The cuisine in Blu will not be the typical spa fare; instead, clients will select from a more robust menu, including steaks. Methods of preparation will be healthier, however; for example, food will not be fried.

Pool Deck Features: We liked the look of the cabana area lining the main pool deck. A dancing fountain area should cool off kids and adults alike in summer.  n


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