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Onboard the New Celebrity SilhouetteAugust 29, 2011 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
|The cabana-style Alcoves are new to the Lawn Club and come with comfortable seating, coffee table and phone.|
Most agents tell Travel Agent their clients simply love Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-class ships. Even so, when a line introduces the fourth ship in any series, there can sometimes be a bit of “ho hum” in both trade and media corners. But that’s not the case for the 122,400-ton Celebrity Silhouette, launched in July in Germany.
While accommodations are virtually unchanged from the previous Solstice-class ships, Celebrity has sizably updated its popular Lawn Club, making the space even more user-friendly for the new ship’s 2,886 guests. Yes, clients can still take a Bocce 101 or Croquet 101 class at the Lawn Club, or just take a walk on the natural grass.
But most notably, the space formerly occupied by the glassblowing kiln operation is now home to a new Lawn Club Grill, an open-air, covered alternative dining restaurant. The cost is $30 per person. Open for dinner, the restaurant’s specialty is interactive grilling. Guests can either participate in grilling their chosen meal or just sit back, relax and let the staff do the work. Those who choose to make their own flatbread or grill their own meal will get great tips from the pros on how to replicate the experience at home. Others take their pick from several types of pizza, including margarita or pepperoni, and watch the chef or fellow guests preparing the dough right in front of them on an open-air island.
The flatbread is first to arrive at the table. Your clients then help themselves to a humongous salad bar with dozens of items. The guest-ordered grilled entrees arrive next, and may include steak, chicken or shrimp and scallop skewers, depending on the guest’s taste. When the main course arrives, it is typically presented family-style on an elevated tray in the center of the table; if your clients don’t like family-style dining, when ordering, just ask the server to have each person’s order plated separately.
Several sides are available, including baked potatoes or fries. Definitely sample the yummy lobster macaroni and cheese. It’s divine.
|Two giant Adirondack chairs in the Lawn Club make for a great photo opportunity.|
Also new to the Lawn Club are eight private cabana-style relaxation areas called the Alcoves, which can be reserved for an added charge of $99 per alcove for a port day, $149 for a day at sea. Up to four people may share an alcove for private use; a sign outside each alcove states the name of the family or couple for whom it’s reserved.
The Alcove is open-air, but has a light arching overhead shade. It comes with comfortable orange seating, a coffee table and phone, and hedges on one side, wooden slat fences on the other three. The line calls it private, but it’s more a semi-private experience. There is space to see a bit of ocean. Could be improved? It’s a comfortable enclave, but it would be nice for the lovely Alcove seating areas to actually face the ocean, not the Lawn Club. And while guests can access Wi-Fi in the Alcoves, they must pay an extra fee.
Still, clients who book these alcoves get many perks, including ambient mood lighting for romantic evenings, a complimentary fresh fruit plate, hand-held fans, chilled towels, four bottles of water, and all-day use of an iPad loaded with music, movies, games and magazines. By contacting an Alcove attendant on their cabana phone, guests may also arrange a wine and cheese evening, picnic basket or à la carte beverages. Also Celebrity tells us that the wait staff at the Lawn Club Grill also provide assistance to Alcove guests.
The Lawn Club has two giant Adirondack chairs where guests can sit for free. It’s a great photo opportunity. Climbing in is challenge enough, but you may need a hand to get out. It’s incredibly fun to occupy the seat of honor atop the Lawn Club; both kids and adults love it. There are also eight hammocks for those who just want to rock gently and enjoy the sea breeze.
While the glassblowing venue has been left out of this Solstice-class ship, clients may take a painting class with a master artist from the ArtCenter South Florida in the new Art Studio that is in an inside room adjacent to the Lawn Club area. Other classes and activities conducted in the studio include beading, drink mixology, culinary lessons, taste tests and chef-prepared dinners.
Clients seeking breakfast or lunch with a sea view may head to The Porch, a second new restaurant on the Lawn Club level. Outdoors, but covered, this casual venue serves breakfast sandwiches and pastries; lunch salads, paninis and sandwiches; freshly baked bread and pastries; as well as specialty coffees, wine and beer. Any food items selected on one occasion cost $5 total per person per order—for food, service and gratuity; à la carte pricing applies for specialty coffees and alcoholic drinks.
Inside, one of the signature features of the Solstice-class ships is a humongous live tree in the atrium, rising from an artistic plant holder suspended between decks. Guests peruse the tree as they ride up and down in the ship’s glass elevators. While Celebrity Solstice is no different in this regard from other Solstice-class ships, what’s new is a vantage point.
Tell clients to head for the Hideaway, a new tree house-like relaxation space that overlooks the atrium. This has green and brown, tree-like decor as well as white nests or pods. Seating is comfortable—many guests relax here and this inside space exudes somewhat of an outdoor feel. Try one of the two pods for a unique perch.
Through October, Celebrity Silhouette will operate 12-night roundtrip Mediterranean/Holy Land voyages from Civitavecchia (Rome). Then, beginning in November, the ship will set out on the line’s first Solstice-class sailings from the Northeast; it will sail 12-night Caribbean voyages roundtrip from Cape Liberty (Bayonne), NJ.
|The treehouse-like Hideaway, with its many unique seating arrangements, overlooks the atrium.|